The WonkLine: June 29, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security, immigration and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.


National Security

100 foreign soldiers have died in Afghanistan in June, making it “the deadliest month for NATO in nine years of conflict.”

“FBI agents arrested 10 people on charges that they spent years in the United States as spies for Russia, taking on fake identities and trying to ferret out intelligence about U.S. policy and secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials, the Justice Department said Monday.”

“Israel’s hard-line foreign minister said Tuesday that there was ‘no chance’ a Palestinian state would be established by 2012 — a message that threatened to cloud the latest visit by Washington’s Mideast envoy.”


“Critics of a trade pact negotiated with South Korea by President George W. Bush are beginning to make clear how difficult it will be for the Obama administration to forge an acceptable compromise by November’s Group of 20 summit meeting,” National Journal reports.

“The number of jurisdictions with foreclosure mediation programs is nearly double the number a year ago, with jurisdictions in 21 states now offering foreclosure mediation or negotiation programs,” according to an analysis by Andrew Jakabovics and Alon Cohen.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) said yesterday that he will vote against the financial regulatory reform legislation currently before Congress.

Health Care

“Governors and state legislatures are beginning to make the key decisions that will affect how the health care reform law will be implemented in their states, with the potential to determine the legislation’s success or failure.”

“Republicans on Monday continued to skewer the White House over the creation of temporary insurance pools for sicker Americans.”

New Jersey “Gov. Christie says he has not decided whether to sign on to a 20-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health-care law signed in March by President Obama.”


Keith Phoenix was convicted of murder as a hate crime during his retrial on charges that he beat an Ecuadorean immigrant with an aluminum baseball bat after mistaking him and his brother for a gay couple.

President Obama promised immigrant-rights advocates who believe he is “committed” but “not doing enough” a major speech urging Republicans and Democrats to work together on an immigration bill this year.

The New York Times reports that “legal standards for asylum in the United States are not easy to meet” and offer little to no refuge for those fleeing dangerous gangs in Latin America.

Climate Change

At 10:50 am, President Barack Obama will “meet with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year” — the 23 attendees include several climate peacocks.

Tropical Storm Alex “is expected to reach hurricane strength” in the Gulf of Mexico and “prevent BP from connecting a third rig to an under-water containment system” for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, as the “New York Federal Reserve was probing potential systemic risks posed by the company.”

The “death toll in floods in Romania has climbed to 16, with another nine people listed as missing.”