The WonkLine: July 1, 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.



The House yesterday approved the financial regulatory reform conference report, meaning that the legislation is one vote in the Senate from being sent to the President. The final vote was 237-192 with three Republicans in favor and 19 Democrats opposed.

Yesterday, Joseph Cassano, who led the AIG division largely responsible for the insurance giant’s collapse, “staunchly defended his actions, maintaining he made ‘prudent’ decisions and that American taxpayers would have been better off had he stayed on.”

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee “has all but ruled out staying in her post if Mayor Adrian M. Fenty loses his reelection bid to council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who she said lacks Fenty’s commitment to reforming the city’s public school system.”

Climate Change

Yesterday, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement announced that they have fined BP America $5.2 million for filing false reports related to gas production on Indian tribal lands in southwest Colorado.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) told The Hill said “he would ‘absolutely’ seek to keep greenhouse gas limits alive in a House-Senate conference if the Senate approves energy legislation this summer that omits carbon provisions.”

Despite concerns from environmentalists and ocean scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency found “the chemical used in response to the BP oil spill, as well as seven alternative mass-produced dispersants, all fell within the range of ‘practically non-toxic’ to ‘slightly toxic.'”

Health Care

“A Web site that the Obama administration unveiled Wednesday aims to give everyone the full range of public and private health insurance plans available to them based on their individual circumstances.”

“The Obama administration and some state governments will begin accepting applications Thursday for new insurance programs designed to cover people who have been denied insurance because they have preexisting medical conditions.”

“Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli today makes his case for keeping his lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s federal health-care reform legislation alive and kicking.”


President Obama hopes to garner momentum behind the push for an immigration overhaul with a speech this morning explaining why he thinks a comprehensive approach is the only way to fix the broken immigration system.

The ACLU issued travel alerts for Arizona, saying the state’s new law cracking down on undocumented immigrants could lead to racial profiling and warrantless arrests.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says he supports Arizona legislation calling for tougher enforcement against undocumented immigrants.

National Security

“Since Iraq’s parliamentary elections in March, killers in this violent northern city have stalked members of the Iraqiya Party, which won the most seats, part of a nationwide outbreak of violence directed at officials and other civic leaders.”

“While the United States and Europe fret over huge deficits and threats to a fragile recovery, this region [Latin America] has a surprise in store. Latin America, beset in the past by debt defaults, currency devaluations and the need for bailouts from rich countries, is experiencing robust economic growth that is the envy of its northern counterparts.”

“Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to send a group of military officers to Pakistan for training, a significant policy shift that Afghan and Pakistani officials said signals deepening relations between the long-wary neighbors.”