The WonkLine: April 28, 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.


After learning that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is planning on moving a climate bill before immigration reform, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) stated, “I guess we’re back to square one” on immigration.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) rejected a proposal from supporters of an energy bill that would tentatively set action on immigration for November (after the midterm elections) and allow the energy bill to move forward. Mexico issued a travel alert to Mexican citizens in Arizona, warning that the state’s new immigration enforcement law has created “a negative political environment for migrant communities and for all Mexican visitors.”

National Security

The Jerusalem Post reports “despite a 2002 road map commitment and years of pledges by successive prime ministers including Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel has no intention in the foreseeable future of dismantling any of 23 unauthorized West Bank outposts built after March 2001.” “The Sunni-backed Iraqiya political party, which won the most seats in recent parliamentary elections [in Iraq], said Wednesday that it might call for the establishment of a caretaker government to oversee a new election — escalating a political crisis.” “The U.N. Security Council wants to make it easier to prosecute pirates, suggesting in a new resolution the possibility of international tribunals to try pirates.”

Climate Change

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) stripped mention of DDT, Joe McCarthy, and the War on Poverty from a resolution honoring Earth Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson because, Coburn’s aide claimed, “the DDT ban was based on science that has been widely discredited” and “various liberal bromides were not appropriate in context.”


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is starting analysis of the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman American Power Act, as Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) recommended the Senate abandon comprehensive climate action and “bring up and pass what we can pass” — namely his energy-only bill.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is nearing the coast, Arctic explorers were stunned by “freak” rain showers, and a megastorm last week left a million people homeless in India and Bangladesh.


Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) raised doubts yesterday about bipartisan compromise on financial reform. “Over the last 24 hours, it just feels like from where I sit, the negotiations are sort of running away from us,” he said.

David Leonhardt makes the case for a bank tax: “A bank tax is akin to an insurance policy that taxpayers would require Wall Street to hold. The premiums on that policy would keep Wall Street from making big profits in good times while foisting its losses on society in bad.”


A coalition of business groups representing multinational firms wrote to lawmakers this week “asking them to hold off on changing the tax treatment of overseas income until a debate on lowering the corporate tax rate,” National Journal reports.

Health Care

“The Medicaid expansion under health reform is expected to strain state budgets already distressed by the recession, despite delays for new eligibility rules and federal aid, Moody’s Investors Service said in a newly released report.”

“The federal employee health insurance program has announced that it is unlikely this year to offer young adults the ability to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26.”

“Employers can amend their health care plans immediately to provide tax-free coverage to employees’ adult children up to age 27, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.”