The WonkLine: August 19, 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

“The last U.S. brigade combat team in Iraq has left the country, a move that helps U.S. President Barack Obama reach his goal of 50,000 troops in the country by September 1.”

“The United Nations will convene a high-level donors meeting Thursday to prod frugal governments to contribute more to relief efforts in Pakistan…where aid contributions have paled in comparison with previous large-scale disasters.”

“The floods in Pakistan have upended the Obama administration’s carefully honed strategy there, confronting the United States with a vast humanitarian crisis and militant groups determined to exploit the misery, in a country that was already one of its thorniest problems.”

Health Care

“President Barack Obama’s health overhaul hasn’t helped Americans feel any more secure about their own medical care, according to a survey to be released Thursday by leading private researchers.”

“In a study that sheds new light on the effects of end-of-life care, doctors have found that patients with terminal lung cancer who began receiving palliative care immediately upon diagnosis not only were happier, more mobile and in less pain as the end neared — but they also lived nearly three months longer.”

“It may have taken years for the federal government to pass legislation to reform health care, but Utah policymakers are on the fast track to putting the state’s health care plan into action.”


Utah state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R) insists that his proposed Arizona-style immigration bill would withstand any federal court challenges.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors withheld an item from its Wednesday agenda to accept $1.6 million in immigration funding from the state that would help pay for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration enforcement efforts.

A handful of Colorado Republican state lawmakers have traveled to Arizona to get advice from local lawmakers on how best to craft a similar anti-immigrant bill in their state.


Forced into an uneasy balancing act between their members and the president they helped elect, the national teachers’ unions are responding to the Obama administration’s teacher-effectiveness agenda in notably different ways,” Education Week reports.

“Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12-month period ending June 30,” according to the latest data.

“Big U.S. banks should be able to meet tighter global capital requirements without having to raise substantial amounts of new equity,” according to an analysis by Barclays Capital.

Climate Change

As BP’s oil has become toxic to the food chain in the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is investigating the administration’s “rosy forecasts” about the oil cleanup and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is “demanding a detailed accounting of the oil giant’s ad buys.”

Extreme storms have killed four in the Washington DC region, swept away a home in Tennessee, ravaged Tempe, AZ, and destroyed crops in Oregon, as the slow hurricane season is expected to rapidly intensify.

“More than four million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods,” the United Nations said on Thursday.