The WonkLine: April 8, 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.

National Security

President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia “signed a nuclear arms control treaty on Thursday and opened what they hoped would be a new era in the tumultuous relationship between two former cold war adversaries.”

“Under enormous pressure from Western governments, President Hamid Karzai ousted Afghanistan’s top two elections officials, who were seen as sanctioning the widespread fraud that favored him during last year’s presidential race.”

The Associated Press reports that “an opposition coalition proclaimed a new interim government Thursday in Kyrgyzstan after clashes left dozens dead and said it would rule until elections are held in six months.”


“The Chinese government is set to announce a revision of its currency policy in the coming days that will allow greater variation in the value of its currency combined with a small but immediate jump in its value against the dollar,” according to the New York Times.

Charles Prince and Robert Rubin, Citigroup’s former leaders, “face a grilling by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today on why they didn’t foresee the housing collapse and its record losses.”

“School districts around the country are eyeing a tentative deal that would make unionized teachers in Washington, D.C., eligible for merit pay,” which increases the maximum salary from $87,000 to $147,000.


Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), stated that amongst Latinos, “there’s a lot of suspicion, a lot of doubt, a lot of concern,” towards President Obama and his priorities. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) believes that, though it’s slow in coming, immigration reform will happen — but not before the unemployment rate drops and the economy starts to improve.  Many Latino immigrants agree that the appointment of Mexican-born Archbishop Jose Gomez to replace Los Angeles’ Cardinal Roger Mahony “is long overdue,” though he has “big shoes to fill” in terms of Mahony’s pro-immigrant activism.

Health Care

“Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed state legislation to create a new Office of Health Care Reform, which will be ordered to set up the state’s insurance exchange and pursue federal funding for a high-risk insurance pool.”

“Seeking to tone down their dispute with state regulators, two Massachusetts health insurers yesterday said they will, as ordered, resume making new policies available for individuals and small businesses.”

The Congressional Research Service says rapists and sex offenders may get federally subsidized Viagra and other sexual performance enhancing drugs under the recently passed health care reform law.”

Climate Change

Rescue teams “entered the Massey Energy Co. mine where four workers were missing after a massive explosion that left 25 miners dead,” and “could reach an area of the mine where the workers were thought to be at the time of the accident.”

The United States “will host a meeting of major economies on April 18–19 in Washington to advance talks on a global deal to fight climate change,” Todd Stern, the top US climate negotiator said today.

Southern New England on Wednesday “saw record heat, as well as fire danger warnings, less than a week after record flooding” with “the earliest date ever for a 90-degree reading in Boston” — the “typical” first 90-degree day in Boston is June 5th.