The WonkLine: July 20, 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.


Climate Change

Due to “concerns the cap it installed last week could be allowing oil and gas to seep out the sides,” BP “could use a new method of closing off the well by pumping heavy drilling fluid into the top—an operation similar to the ‘top kill’ procedure that failed in May.”

According to new data released by the International Energy Agency, “China has passed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest energy consumer,” consuming “2.252 billion tons of oil equivalent last year, about 4% more than the U.S.”

Heavy rain in China has led to “floods and landslides” that “have left scores of people dead and missing in recent days.”

Health Care

“Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is asserting she had no involvement in discussing the government’s response to a lawsuit against the health care reform legislation passed earlier this year.”

“President Obama still wants the Senate to confirm Donald Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and he resubmitted his nomination to the Senate on Monday.”

“In the early implementation of health reform, states with the most progressive health policies are having a more difficult experience than others locking down a share of the $5 billion of federal funding for new high-risk pools.”

National Security

“Afghan President Hamid Karzai has closed a major international conference in Kabul with a call for his country to control its own security by 2014.”

“Iran’s parliament authorized tit-for-tat retaliation Tuesday against countries that inspect cargo on Iranian ships and aircraft as part of new U.N. sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.”

“The top American military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, says the United States will continue to conduct military exercises in the international waters of the Yellow Sea, in spite of strong objections from the Chinese government. The Pentagon confirmed last week that there will soon be joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in both the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.”


With the swearing in of Carte Goodwin as the new senator for West Virginia, “Senate Democrats are poised to break a partisan stalemate on Tuesday over extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.”

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs Group trader “at the center of the government’s fraud probe against the firm, denied regulatory charges that he misled investors,” telling the SEC that that he isn’t responsible for “for any alleged failings” made by the firm.

“A reconciled bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration could be ready this week,” reports The Hill, with a provision correcting an inequity in labor law that benefits FedEx likely to come up in a separate vote.