The WonkLine: August 2, 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.


After walking away from immigration reform in March, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-AZ) called on Congress to turn to border security and fix the nation’s “broken” immigration laws next year. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) said Sunday that Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has “the cojones” that President Obama “does not have” to take on illegal immigration. Another Mexican immigrant was attacked in Staten Island this weekend, marking the 10th known instance over the past four months in which assailants, mostly young black men, have assaulted Mexican immigrants in the area.


Sen. Christ Dodd (D-CT) reportedly approached FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair recently “to gauge whether she would be interested in running the new consumer-protection agency” created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.


“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest collection point for corporate contributions, has increased its spending for the congressional election in November from $35 million in 2008 to a projected $75 million this year,” the LA Times reports.

The Financial Times’ Edward Luce goes inside the crisis in middle-class America.

Health Care

Today, the Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on a bill including enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for states. “It would give states a 3.2 percent Medicaid funding boost for the first quarter of 2011 and 1.2 percent for the second quarter, at a cost of $16.1 billion.” A report from the Obama administration claims that the new health overhaul law will not only add “12 years of solvency” to Medicare’s trust fund for inpatient care, but will also save “about $8 billion by the end of next year and $575 billion over the rest of the decade.” Yesterday, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) coverage went into effect, covering “primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs for those who have been uninsured for the last six months, and have been unable to obtain insurance due to pre-existing conditions.”


The US Chamber of Commerce is attempting to discredit “a breakaway group of local chambers” planning to “publicly split with the business lobby’s hardline stance against climate legislation” by falsely claiming the group was “established by the Natural Resources Defense Council.”


The “Senate will likely spend only a day this week on a narrow oil spill response bill that appears fated to stall because of another Republican filibuster.

Flooding caused by unusually heavy rain” in northeast China has left over 100 people missing, destroyed 21,875 buildings, and cut water to more than 300,000 people, “Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill asked Russians to pray for rain on Sunday as wildfires raged” from the “hottest weather since records began,” and the “death toll from flooding in north-west Pakistan rose to 1,100.”