The WonkLine: January 19, 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.


This past weekend, thousands marched in protest of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s controversial immigration enforcement tactics. Michael Tomasky of the Guardian is skeptical of the Politico poll which puts Massachusetts senatorial candidate Scott Brown in a 9-point lead and points out that the poll also curiously shows that 77% of Latinos and 27% of blacks said they were voting for Brown. Haiti’s ambassador to Washington is advising his countrymen not to make the dangerous journey to U.S., noting that “if you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case.”

Health Care

The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders are “scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday.”


The Wall Street Journal reports that “Democratic leadership aides say they have ruled out pushing the health care bill through Congress before Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown is seated, in the event that he wins.”

“Moderate Democratic Senators who may have the most to lose from the rancorous health care reform debate are holding their ground and preparing to support the final version of the legislation,” despite the close election in Massachusetts.


According to the latest Treasury Department report, the nation’s biggest banks cut their collective small business lending balance for the seventh straight month in November, this time by $1 billion.

A new report by the Pew Research Center shows that “women are increasingly better-educated than their husbands and have emerged as the dominant income-provider in one of five marriages.”


“President Obama will announce plans today to continue and expand the ‘Race To The Top’ stimulus grant competition for education reform, requesting $1.35 billion in his FY-2011 budget to fund the program,” ABC News reports.

Climate Change

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is preparing an amendment to strip the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases, “ is also Congress’ top recipient of campaign funds from the electric utility industry,” E&E; News reports, receiving $157,000 last year.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has hired David Mould, a Bush official who censored NASA climate change science, to “help rehab its credibility after the coal ash disaster.”

Offshore wind power and wave energy foundations can increase local abundances of fish and crabs by acting as artificial reefs, scientists have found.

National Security

BBC reports “Security has been tightened in the Afghan capital Kabul a day after the city centre was attacked by Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers…The Kabul assault was the latest in a series of increasingly brazen attacks.” Xinua reports “Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Tuesday criticized the West over its supports for Israel against Palestinians, the state-run satellite Press TV reported. Larijani attacked the Western countries for giving Israel all the military support it needed to launch its deadly operation on the impoverished Palestinian Gaza Strip.” “Ukraine’s two presidential hopefuls squared up on Tuesday for a final bid for election next month with their camps focusing on how to scoop up the votes of candidates knocked out in Sunday’s first round.”