The WonkLine: March 11, 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.

Climate Change

“Climate change is a fact,” said the Chinese government, as it officially joined the Copenhagen Accord and challenged the United States to “make stronger commitments on climate change and provide environmental expertise and financing to developing nations.”

Governors from 18 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam, led by Govs. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) , sent a letter to Congress to “stop harmful EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions” and instead “pass comprehensive legislation that balances the role of conservation and climate security with the production of abundant and affordable American energy.”


The Ethicurean makes recommendations for the making a sustainable seafood supply chain of wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants through labeling, removal of unsustainable fish from stores, and consumer guides like fish2fork.

Health Care

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will start walking her members through major components of the final health care package Thursday as Democrats inch ever closer to a climatic vote on the landmark legislation.”

“President Barack Obama is pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to go further than Obama has previously disclosed to strip the final health care reform bill of the narrow deals aimed at appeasing specific senators.”

Six Senate Republicans joined most Democrats to approve a package of unemployment aid and tax provisions that will prolong “increased levels of federal unemployment aid and COBRA healthcare benefits for the jobless through the end of December.” The measure also patches the 21 percent rate cut to doctors in the Medicare program.


The research firm RealtyTrac said today “that the number of U.S. households facing foreclosure in February grew 6 percent from the year-ago level, the smallest annual increase in four years.”


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that “she’ll insist on a conference with the Senate on the financial reform legislation in Congress.” “They have a way of saying, ‘We’ve passed this bill, this is all we can do, take it or leave it.’ But the fact is, that can’t happen,” she said.

James Kwak points to a survey of private sector economists who aren’t buying the financial industry’s claim that creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) will be harmful to bank “safety and soundness.”


A group of lawmakers from the Hispanic Caucus will tell President Barack Obama that they may not vote for health care reform unless changes are made to the bill’s harsh immigration provisions. On his regrets, Former Bush Senior adviser Karl Rove told the New York Times, “I wish we had led the second term with immigration reform” because it would’ve “given everybody a bipartisan victory” and “cleared the ground for entitlement reform.” A scholar and interpreter at federal hearings following the 2008 massive raid of Postville’s Agriprocessors meat-processing plant is pushing for immigration reform, arguing that America suffers from “a crisis created by immigration raids and deportations.”

National Security

“Vice President Joe Biden called on Thursday for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to start without delay despite Palestinian insistence that Israel first cancel a settlement project condemned by Washington.” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates traveled to Saudi Arabia and the UAE where he “met the Emirati leader over military defenses and growing fears in the Persian Gulf over possible missile attacks by Iran.” “Iraq’s election commission is expected Thursday to announce partial results of last week’s vote.”