The WonkLine: September 21, 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

“The four major Atlantic hurricanes that spun toward the Caribbean in the past month were fueled by record warm seas and formed in an unprecedented 20 days.”

Extreme global warming “is putting the world’s coral reefs under such severe stress that scientists fear widespread die-offs, endangering not only the richest ecosystems in the ocean but also fisheries that feed millions of people.”

Oil and coal companies and businesses “are ramping up spending on candidates and issues, while environmental groups face lagging donations and enthusiasm for campaigns key to climate change action.”


According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, “corporations have begun to send a majority of donations from their political action committees to Republican candidates, a reversal from the trend of the past three years.”

President Obama said yesterday that China’s leaders haven’t done “everything they said would be done” to allow their nation’s currency to appreciate in value.

“European leaders stepped up demands for a global financial tax on Monday as they faced mounting calls for money to pay for the Millennium Goals battle to cut extreme poverty,” AFP reports.


Today, the Senate will vote on the motion to proceed with the annual defense appropriations bill that includes the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act as an amendment.

Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have stated they will oppose the DREAM Act as part of the defense bill, despite supporting the legislation in the past.

The 9th Circuit U.S. District Court of Appeals will hear Brewer’s appeal arguments against a federal court judge’s decision to block parts of SB-1070 from becoming law November 1.

Health Care

“If you’ve ever seen a sale advertising 50 percent off, you might have wondered if the retail price was ratcheted up to make the discount possible.”

“Some of the country’s most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23.”

“Health insurance regulators in North Carolina have identified nearly $156 million in refunds owed to Blue Cross policyholders because of changes coming under the nation’s new health law.”

National Security

“Nine NATO soldiers were killed Tuesday morning in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, military officials said, making 2010 the deadliest year for the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan.”

“North Korea announced on Tuesday that the ruling Workers’ Party would hold a major gathering next week, the first such congress in 30 years and a meeting that could signal the formal designation of Kim Jong-il’s youngest son as his heir apparent.”

“Opposition candidates [in Afghanistan] are cautiously optimistic that they may have greatly improved their strength in the next Parliament, despite widespread charges of fraud and low voter turnout that may yet discredit the results of Saturday’s election.”