The WonkLine: May 25, 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.


House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) has been chosen to chair the conference committee that will reconcile the House and Senate financial regulatory reform bills.

“The Federal Reserve’s actions to stabilize the financial system over the past two and a half years are more likely to have reaped more benefits than costs,” according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.


A “motion to instruct,” proposed by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), exempting auto dealers from new consumer protection rules passed the Senate yesterday by a 60–39 vote. The measure is non-binding, but conveys that a majority of the Senate would like to see such an exemption.

Climate Change

Bob Herbert joined a chorus of voices calling for the Obama administration to “take control of the Gulf oil spill away” from BP, but Adm. Thad Allen protested, “I’m not sure there’s a cause for action or a justification to consider” taking authority from the foreign oil giant.

“Mount Everest is becoming increasingly dangerous to climb because global warming is melting glacier ice along its slopes,” according to a Nepalese Sherpa who has conquered the world’s highest summit 20 times.

Heat waves have killed 34 people in Ahmedabad, India as tornadoes have been reported in Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.


Public Policy Polling sees Latinos “in the Mountain West are leaning much more strongly toward the Democrats since the Arizona law was passed.”


Today, President Barack Obama will ask Senate Republicans to set aside their objections to his broad immigration goals at a lunchtime meeting with the GOP conference.

The Hill reports that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is “soft-pedaling his Dream Act immigration bill for fear of undercutting the comprehensive reform pushed by his Democratic leadership rival, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).”

Health Care

“Drug makers would have to offer steep discounts to hospitals that treat the poor under the tax extenders bill expected to hit the House floor on Tuesday.”

“A federal law that President Obama signed early last year to expand health insurance to 4 million more low-income children has gotten off to a slow start because of budget problems in the states.”

“Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour made his the third state to enact a law that would allow it to opt out of some of the federal abortion funding in the health care bill.”

National Security

“The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region,” the New York Times reports.


“When the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, went to Tehran two weeks ago, he was hoping to defuse a seemingly intractable crisis over Iran’s nuclear program and cement his reputation as an international statesman. But after Brazil and Turkey forged a deal with Iran to exchange uranium, Mr. da Silva returned home to a cloud of criticism.”

“South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday gave his backing to readopting the official description of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the “main enemy,” following Seoul’s public accusation of its northern rival of deliberately sinking its warship in March.”