The WonkLine: April 9, 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

The Associated Press reports that “the number of crude roadside bombs in Afghanistan has doubled in the past year, prompting U.S. officials to rush billions of dollars of new protective gear to troops and double the number of road-clearing teams.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has canceled his plans to attend the Nuclear Security summit meeting in Washington next week and will send a minister in his place.” No reason was given for the last-minute cancellation.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday “that there remain limits to his country’s support for sanctions on Iran, even as the move for united action to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambition accelerates.”


According to data from the New York Federal Reserve, “major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public.”

“In an effort to throw some light on the shadowy world of private investment pools, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is working to require hedge, private equity and venture capital funds to provide information on their dealings to the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Politico reports.

Senate Democrats have scheduled a cloture vote for Monday on the stalled package extending unemployment benefits, but they’re not sure they have the votes to pass it, as “the GOP Conference is expected to overwhelmingly vote against cloture.”


The Service Employees International Union is condemning the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security’s immigration enforcement practices and protesting the use of deportation quotas and expanded workplace audits. A coalition of undocumented immigrant students believes their online petition and letter-writing campaign eventually could lead to a private meeting between them and Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) before immigration reform is debated in Congress. Federal officials say only 42,942 out of the 200,000 undocumented Haitians they initially expected to file for Temporary Protected Status have submitted an application following January’s devastating earth quake.

Climate Change

The Caribbean “is battling a record drought that has shut down schools and courtrooms and sparked brush fires and a prison protest,” with “the lowest rainfall totals from October to March since records were kept.”


Reviewing the “disaster at the non-union Massey mine,” Leo Gerard bluntly declared: “I can absolutely say that if these miners were members of a union, they would have been able to refuse unsafe work in our collective agreements, and they would have been able to refuse that work, and would not have been subjected to that kind of atrocious conditions.”

“More than 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity” of wind power “was built nationwide last year, and wind power produced almost 2 percent of all U.S. electricity.”