The WonkLine: August 31, 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.


The first of 532 National Guard troops began their mission on the Arizona border yesterday and unmanned predator drones will be monitoring the whole southwest border with Mexico starting tomorrow.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against a network of Arizona community colleges, alleging they discriminated against 250 noncitizen job applicants by mandating that they fill out more documents than required by law to prove their eligibility to work. A recently released report reveals that federal employees who handle Social Security disability claims and immigration hearings have been the target of a “wave of threats.”


Auto sales in August were the slowest in 28 years “as model-year closeout deals failed to entice consumers concerned the economy is worsening and they may lose their jobs.”


Roll Call reports that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare “is featured with many GOP solutions for the debt, national security and health care in ‘Young Guns,’” a book Ryan wrote with Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

A report published by the House of Commons shows that “women stand to bear the burden of 72 percent” of the British government’s budget cuts.

National Security

Iraq’s prime minister said the end of U.S. combat operations on Tuesday restored Iraq’s sovereignty and meant it stood as an equal to the United States, despite political deadlock and persistent violence.  Looking at the Israeli settlements problem, Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace now writes “Middle East peace efforts are not served by narratives — attractive as they may be — that delude anyone into believing that Israel can avoid the hard decisions it must make on settlements.” Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, has completed work on new guidelines for turning some security duties over to Afghan forces in the months ahead, calling for American and allied troops to step back gradually from areas as they are pacified rather than handing off the task all at once to local units.

Health Care

“Public support for the health overhaul declined in August, a development sure to stir concerns among the Obama administration and congressional Democrats seeking to shore up support for the law in the months leading up to the mid-term elections.”


“Regulators’ appetite for calorie counts is about to extend beyond restaurants to thousands of other places that offer food, including airplanes, movie theaters and convenience stores.”

The Obama administration on Monday announced “that more than one million Medicare beneficiaries had received $250 rebate checks as part of the provision to close the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the doughnut hole.”