The WonkLine: August 16, 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

“U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told a major U.S. newspaper the July 2011 date to start withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan is set in stone, putting him at odds with his top Afghan war commander, General David Petraeus.”

“South Korea and the United States began a new round of war games Monday, involving about 30,000 U.S. forces and 56,000 South Korean personnel. The 10-day computerized drill is the second massive joint military exercise in less than a month”

“Iran will begin building a third facility for enriching uranium in 2011, said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Islamic Republic’s Atomic Energy Organization on Sunday.”


The LA Times reports on the Small Business Administration’s effort to craft new rules that may help women-owned firms get federal contracts.

According to the latest data, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools chancellor Joe Klein have seen “the evaporation of one of their signature accomplishments: the closing of the racial achievement gap.”

As of this week, thanks to new Federal Reserve regulations, “unless a consumer chooses to opt-in for overdraft protection, their ATM and debit purchases will be declined if an account has insufficient funds.”

Health Care

“Sixty-five Democratic members of Congress are asking the NAIC to develop a strict definition of ‘quality improvement measures’ in the MLR calculations.”

“Faced with the need to review insurance rates and enforce a panoply of new rights granted to consumers, states are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary legal authority to carry out the responsibilities being placed on them by President Obama’s health care law.”

“Though years away, the expiration of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is already getting some attention on Capitol Hill.”


A new Politico poll shows 59% of the general population wants immigration reform, including 59% of Republicans.

Hundreds of Tea Party activists gathered in Arizona at the U.S.- Mexico border “to rally for conservative political candidates and to denounce what they called lax federal enforcement of immigration laws.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) spoke out against gubernatorial candidate Scott McCollum’s (R-FL) immigration bill that would create an Arizona-style law against undocumented immigrants in Florida.

Climate Change

“We have a president who is forcing the EPA down our throats,” Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul vividly claimed on Saturday, saying Obama “cares nothing about Kentucky and cares even less about Kentucky coal.”

On Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit against the EPA’s greenhouse pollution endangerment finding, because of “the significant negative impact the EPA’s endangerment finding will have on jobs and local economies.”

Extreme heat waves throughout the United States have killed two in St. Louis, seven in Mississippi, and eight in Oklahoma.