The WonkLine: July 16, 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 Senate passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill yesterday on a 60–39 vote, sending it to President Obama for his signature. The banking industry is “now turning to Plan B: Adapting to the rules and turning them to their advantage.”

“In one of the largest penalties in Wall Street history,” Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to settle charges “that it duped clients by selling mortgage securities that were secretly designed by a hedge-fund firm to cash in on the housing market’s collapse.”

Is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) encouraging the Fed to do more about boosting employment?

National Security

“The Iranian scientist who American officials say defected to the United States, only to return to Tehran on Thursday, had been an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency inside Iran for several years, providing information about the country’s nuclear program.” “BP faced a new furor on Thursday as it confirmed that it had lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement that the Libyan government wanted to secure the release of the only person ever convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing.” “Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the Uganda bomb attacks that killed 76 people watching the World Cup final on television.”


In the first hearing on a challenge to the Arizona immigration law, Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court asked both sides “pointed questions” and could not promise to rule before July 29, when the law takes effect. Two Arizona sheriffs who support the state’s immigration law have hired a local law firm to help fight lawsuits against the controversial law and pursue countersuits against the Obama administration. The government has issued all 10,000 “U” visas available this year for immigrant crime victims who help authorities investigate and prosecute perpetrators.

Health Care

“The nation’s largest provider of abortion services is slamming the Obama administration for seeking to restrict abortion coverage in high-risk pools, even as anti-abortion groups continued to argue the exact opposite.”


“Nearly 83 percent of Colorado’s smallest businesses will qualify for tax credits under the federal healthcare reform act, but less than 25 percent of state businesses with 25 or less workers will be able to receive the maximum tax benefits, according to a report released Thursday.”

“Would you be more likely to choose a medical provider that has embraced electronic medical records?”

Climate Change

“We have some real reservations about the utility-only approach and that’s hard for us to get past,” said Glenn English, the chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, staking out opposition to the stripped-down climate bill being negotiated for Senate debate at the end of July.

“March, April, May and June set records, making 2010 the warmest year worldwide since record-keeping began in 1880,” as Italy is sweltering, “women in bikinis are sunbathing in Moscow,” and southern California is baking.


Scientists have found that “carbon dioxide-induced global warming is in the process of killing off a major coral species in the Red Sea.”