The WonkLine: January 14, 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

Doctors, medicine and specialist rescue teams from around the world continued to arrive in Haiti Thursday, as the earthquake-battered country faced up to a humanitarian crisis that officials estimate has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement will not hold any discussions with rival Hamas unless the Islamic movement accepts an Egyptian-drafted offer for national Palestinian reconciliation, a senior official said.


Al Jazeera reports that a group of Muslim leaders have said Yemenis have a religious duty to resist foreign military intervention in the country.


Yesterday, the Obama administration announced it was temporarily suspending deportations of undocumented Haitians, yet “there was no immediate indication that the federal government would grant Haitian nationals Temporary Protected Status.”

Arizona legislators say money earmarked for enforcement of the state’s 2-year-old employer-sanctions law will be drastically cut for fiscal year 2010 due to the state’s budget problems.

Advocates are pushing for improvements in wages and working conditions for mostly immigrant sheepherders, with a Colorado lawmaker planning to introduce a bill this session to raise their minimum wage to $9.88 an hour.

Climate Change

A penguin-chaser tells the story of how climate change is forcing these marine birds to travel farther to find food: Penguins’ daily trek is fifty miles longer than it was a decade ago. In Venezuela, widespread energy rationing will hit “even schools and small health clinics.” “We only have a slim chance” of avoiding a dangerous temperature rise this century, says Mark New at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Norwich, UK. “It looks like we’ll have to prepare for warming greater than 2 °C or hope that geoengineering gets us out of trouble.”


According to a new Federal Reserve report, “the economy’s modest recovery broadened during the last months of 2009 with the help of an uptick in home sales and improvements in the manufacturing sector.” But “the report also reinforces that the weak labor market continues to be a drag on the economic rebound.”

Nearly 3 million homeowners received at least one foreclosure filing during 2009, setting a new record.

E.J. Dionne writes that Obama’s attempt to move the tax burden toward the financial sector is “a matter of both justice and political necessity.”

Health Care

“After an unusual day-long negotiating session, President Barack Obama and top Democratic congressional leaders said late Wednesday that they were making ‘significant progress’ towards reconciling the House and Senate health care reform bills.”


The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that drug companies that pay firms to keep low-cost drugs off the shelves longer engage in “pay-for-delay” tactics that cost Americans approximately $3.5 billion a year.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) pushes back against Majority Leader Reid’s assertion that he felt “double crossed.”