The WonkLine: January 28, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below.


An amendment offered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to add $3 billion in transit funding to the recovery package is up for a vote today.

Former Vice President Al Gore will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10 a.m. “that a bill capping greenhouse gas emissions is needed if the U.S. is to play a leading role in negotiations for a new international climate treaty.”


The Washington Post reports that “Interior Department officials ignored key scientific findings when they limited water flows in the Grand Canyon” for power generation.

National Security

Spencer Ackerman reports on Defense Secretary Gates’ telling Congress that he sees “no purely military solution” for the growing Afghanistan insurgency, and that a “fully integrated civil-military strategy” is required.

As Israel launches air strikes on the Gaza border, Middle East envoy Mitchell arrives in Cairo to try to “extend and consolidate” the cease-fire.

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the Obama administration to release Justice Department memos that provided the legal underpinning for harsh interrogations, eavesdropping and secret prisons.


A measure allowing bankruptcy judges to “cram-down” mortgage payments for troubled homeowners “cleared a key hurdle Tuesday when it was approved by a U.S. House panel.”


To make up budget shortfalls, “states are increasingly turning to gambling,” with 14 states considering proposals to allow or expand slots or casinos.

America’s charitable foundations “are stepping up their giving to help the homeless and the hungry during the recession”; 50 of the largest foundations have already committed more than $100 million this year.

Health Care

During yesterday’s SCHIP debate, the Senate defeated an effort by Republicans that would have “required states to extend health coverage to the vast majority of other low-income children first before covering legal immigrants.”

The Senate Finance Committee portion of President Obama’s economic stimulus package uses “both carrots and sticks to persuade providers to adopt electronic health records.”

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “at least 25 states have enacted or proposed cuts in health-insurance programs for the poor.”