The WonkLine: February 26, 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.

Climate Change

An 800-billion-ton “iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg,” and “could disrupt marine life in the region.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is urging Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to “quickly write comprehensive climate and energy legislation to give the measure a chance of reaching the floor this year.”

Right-wing talk show host Lou Dobbs said that Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) deserves a round of applause as a man “utterly vindicated” for his stand against climate change science, based on the manufactured scandals promoted by pollution industry shills.

Health Care

“Democrats wake up after Thursday’s health care summit staring down another deadline to get their bill done, exactly four weeks to Easter break.”

“After a brief period of consultation following the White House health reform summit, congressional Democrats plan to begin making the case next week for a massive, Democrats-only health care plan, party strategists told POLITICO.”

Paul Krugman points out that if Thursday’s health summit “last act in the great health reform debate,” “the debate will have ended as it began: with Democrats offering moderate plans that draw heavily on past Republican ideas, and Republicans responding with slander and misdirection.”


Chairwoman of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, Linda Chavez, argues in a new piece on Townhall that immigration restrictionists are not “true conservatives.”

Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) victory and new concerns about a shrinking base have motivated the Massachusetts Democratic Party to launch an aggressive effort to attract Latino voters, the state’s fastest-growing population.

A new report by the Department of Homeland Security shows that Mexicans represented 62 percent of the nation’s undocumented immigrant population in 2009. The report also “shows that the nation’s undocumented immigrant population declined sharply in 2008 during the recession, following years of rapid growth.”


Today, President Obama plans to name Honeywell International CEO David Cote, former Fed Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin, SEIU president Andy Stern, and former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO Ann Fudge to the federal deficit commission.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “is developing a program to test whether cutting the mortgage balances of distressed borrowers who owe significantly more than their homes are worth is an effective method for saving homeowners from foreclosure.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday “that the federal government is looking into the role U.S. banks may have played in the Greek fiscal crisis.”

National Security

In Afghanistan “At least 18 people, many of them Indian nationals, were killed on Friday in suicide and car bomb attacks on two guesthouses popular with foreigners in the center of Kabul, police officials said.”

“South Africa told the United Nations in a confidential report that it seized arms traveling from North Korea by way of China, marking at least the third time a government interdicted North Korean weapons shipments since the U.N. last summer adopted harsher sanctions against Pyongyang.”

“Washington’s main envoy on North Korean issues says the North appears ready to get talking again about getting rid of nuclear weapons. U.S. Envoy Stephen Bosworth is not disclosing any dates, but says he does expect North Korea will rejoin multinational talks aimed at ending its nuclear capabilities.”