The WonkLine: June 12, 2009

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, and subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, you can now follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.


Yesterday, Univision reported that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said he’s willing to put “the Democratic Party’s reputation on the line for immigration reform,” as the White House prepares for its June 17th meeting on immigration reform with top lawmakers and advocacy groups. Over 200 workers at a major food-processing plant located in Los Angeles County are without work, severance, or medical insurance as the workers’ union says the employer who fired them for providing invalid Social Security numbers “acted hastily and unnecessarily.” A Rio Grande Valley city that fought to keep the new border wall from crossing through their town is claiming that they’ve seen an increase in crime and smuggling activities since the wall’s construction.


Attacking the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said, “They like to call it ACES but I call it C.R.A.P. — continue ruining America’s prosperity.”


“I don’t think you are going to get any type of a bill through Congress” that allows the EPA “near our farms,” House Agriculture chair Collin Peterson (D-MN) argued yesterday about the ACES Act, telling reporters he didn’t think “mixing climate change together with energy independence” is “smart.”

“Real regulation of toxic ash from coal-fired power plants would not only protect the environment, but would make economic sense,” according to a new report from the NYU Institute for Policy Integrity.


Bloomberg reports that “U.S. taxpayers have reaped a 7.5 percent return on the $45 billion used to rescue Citigroup Inc., more than three times as much as if the money had been invested in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.”

According to a Federal Reserve report released yesterday “Americans saw $1.3 trillion of wealth vaporize in the first quarter of 2009, as the stock market and home values continued to decline.”


Via Econbrowser, we have the tale of Amherst bank in Austin, TX, beating the Wall Street banks at their own game. “It’s all-out warfare” between the banks and Amherst, said a senior banker at one firm that lost money.

National Security

The UN Security Council is expected to adopt tougher sanctions targeting North Korea’s atomic and ballistic missile programs in response to North Korea’s nuclear defiance. “The 15-member body was to meet at 11:00 am ET for a likely vote on a draft resolution.”

Reuters reports that “a prominent anti-Taliban Pakistani Muslim cleric was killed on Friday in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Lahore.”

According to the AP, “Palau’s decision to allow 13 Chinese Muslims from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to resettle there has sparked anger among islanders who fear for the safety of the tranquil tourist haven.”

Health Care

Judy Feder and Marilyn Moon urge policy makers to “use Medicare to hold industry to cost and quality promises.”

Some Democrats are “arguing behind the scenes that they should not use the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) cost estimate, as is custom. Instead, they would use cost estimates from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).”

Jonathan Cohn examines how to get the AMA on board with health care reform.