The WonkLine: March 2, 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.


The Wall Street Journal writes that “the close-the-borders rhetoric common within the Tea Party movement runs counter to what many in the GOP hope will be a renewed outreach to Hispanics.” Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) says that his support of Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff “was a mistake” and claims Emanuel “corroded Obama’s commitment to immigration reform.” In his new book, Mitt Romney (R-MA) wrote that “populism sometimes takes the form of being anti-immigrant…and that likewise is destructive to a nation which has built its economy through the innovation and hard work and creativity” of immigrants.


Goldman Sachs made at least $100 million in trading revenue on 131 days last year — “equivalent to once every other trading day.” This broke Goldman’s previous record of 90.


Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn announced that he will retire at the end of his current term, “opening a third seat on what may be the world’s most powerful economic body and giving President Obama a historic opportunity to reshape the central bank.”

In a speech yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that “tax increases may be necessary to rein in $12 trillion in federal debt.” “No one likes raising revenue, and understandably so,” he said. “But if you’re going to buy, you need to pay.”

Health Care

Nine House Democrats indicated in an Associated Press survey Monday they have not ruled out switching their “no” votes to “yes” on health reform.

“When asked today if Democrats are willing to push forward a contentious health care reform bill, even at the risk of losing control in Congress, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that voters overwhelmingly back key parts of the bill, even as Republicans attack it as lacking public support.”


“Senate Republicans are preparing to wage a unified floor and message war to block this 51-vote strategy — and lay the groundwork for what they hope will be big electoral gains in November.”

National Security

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is working “expeditiously and thoroughly” to win new international penalties on Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Al Jazeera reports that “Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shia religious authority, has called on his fellow clerics to stay neutral in next month’s general election and refrain from backing candidates.” “Israel won’t pull out of a key part of the West Bank even if there’s a peace agreement with the Palestinians, the prime minister told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Climate Change

Climate change is having an impact on allergy season, according to doctors who found that “the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of the pollen seasons of some plants.”

As cyber bullying increases for climate scientists, climate change denier Marc Morano adds, “Kick them while they’re down.” “They deserve to be publicly flogged.”


China announced that “it will spell out greenhouse gas emissions goals and monitoring rules for regions and sectors in its next five-year plan, with monitoring to show it is serious about curbing emissions.”