The WonkLine: May 27, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security 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.


Cyclone Aila “tore into southern Bangladesh and eastern India on Wednesday” and has “killed more than 200 people” and “displaced millions.”

“What is frightening is that the scientists are now reviewing their predictions, recognizing that climate change impact is accelerating at a much faster pace,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “This is very serious and alarming.”


House Agriculture chair and Blue Dog Collin Peterson (D-MN) on the Waxman-Markey climate legislation: “In my district, a ‘no’ vote would be a good vote.” Blue Dog Gene Taylor (D-MS): “I think of the whole cap-and-trade idea as a Ponzi scheme.” Blue Dog Jason Altmire (D-PA): “I think cap-and-trade is bad policy.”

Health Care

“According to a report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the number of uninsured Americans could climb to 65.7 million by 2019, unless Congress enacts comprehensive health care reform.”

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) expects that “both the House and the Senate will pass” health care bills “before the August recess, and during the August recess there will be a conference committee working nonstop trying to turn those two bills into a final bill that can be presented to the president.”

“Drug-company executives are aiming to prevent steep cuts in prescription prices by joining the effort to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.”

National Security

North Korea has threatened “to attack the South after it joined a U.S.-led plan to check vessels suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction.” North Korea is facing international censure for this week’s nuclear test.


“Gunmen opened fire and then detonated a large car bomb near police offices in the eastern city of Lahore today, killing about 30 people, wounding at least 250 and destroying structures.”

During a debate in the Israeli parliament, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Arab countries to make immediate moves toward normalizing ties with Israel and said he would offer ‘concrete’ steps toward peace with the Palestinians.”


“Vice President Joe Biden and two Cabinet secretaries unveiled a national program Tuesday to train workers for ‘green jobs’ that will make public housing more energy-efficient.”

“Almost three out of four” economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics Outlook “expect the recession will end by the third quarter of 2009.”

“Banking trade groups are lobbying the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for permission” to use “public money to help buy troubled assets from the banks themselves” as part of the Public Private Investment Program.