The WonkLine: April 23, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 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

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) expects “to have the backing of three of the five major oil companies” when he introduces his comprehensive climate bill on Monday with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Massey Energy’s board declared its “full support and confidence” in CEO Don Blankenship, but miners at deadly Upper Big Branch mine told the New York Times “the pressure to run coal was so intense at times that any claim of a commitment to safety seemed like part of some absurdist play.”


“The cost of inaction is too great,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) at a hearing on the ocean acidification caused by carbon pollution, agreeing with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) who said “we need to move ahead on climate legislation,” as scientists report that “85 percent of shellfish reefs have been lost.”

National Security

“A series of bombings on Friday struck mosques, a market and a shop in Baghdad, as well as the homes of a prosecutor and police officers in western Iraq, killing dozens, only five days after a joint Iraqi-American raid killed the top two leaders of the insurgency.”

“Pushed to the brink of bankruptcy, Greece on Friday requested a massive, $56 billion rescue that is aimed at preventing a financial meltdown in the heart of Europe and will test the resolve of the European Union to uphold its pledge to bail out the troubled Mediterranean nation.”

“Fresh from signing a strategic nuclear arms agreement with Russia, the United States is parrying a push by several NATO allies to withdraw its aging stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.”


Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-NV) has told Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to strike a deal in three weeks or Democrats will bring their own immigration bill forward.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated that pushing immigration reform “destroys the ability to do something like energy and climate.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has until tomorrow to decide how to sign or veto the “nation’s toughest legislation against illegal immigration,” which reached her desk Monday before it automatically becomes law.

Health Care

“The federal agency that oversees Medicaid confirmed Thursday that some money states receive as rebates from drugmakers will now be redirected to the federal government to help pay for the new health overhaul.”

“Military health care spending is rising twice as fast as the nation’s overall health care costs, consuming a larger chunk of the defense budget as the Pentagon struggles to pay for two wars, military budget figures show.”

“The Wisconsin Legislature has approved creating a new basic health insurance program for thousands of low-income residents with no children.”