The WonkLine: May 4, 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 Wonk Room is blogging and tweeting live from the Gulf Coast.

Climate Change

Lawmakers and Gulf Coast residents are beginning to question whether British Petroleum “will take full responsibility for the economic losses” caused by its oil spill.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) has reversed his support for offshore oil drilling, saying, “you turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, ‘Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?’”


“Organizers of a California ballot measure that would suspend the state’s landmark climate change law, possibly for years, said on Monday they had enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot.”


TPM reports on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claims “that the Bush Administration prohibited its own top officials who were handling the emerging crisis from briefing Congress until a complete financial collapse was only hours away.”

Jonathan Alter pushes President Obama to adopt a plan from the New Teacher Project that would help “prevent a new round of teacher layoffs but only for those states that remove their prohibitions on using anything other than seniority to determine who gets laid off.”

Felix Salmon explains why the Greek bailout won’t work.


In response to Arizona’s new immigration law, the American Bar Association is facing “mounting pressure to move a conference in Phoenix scheduled for next week” after “two New York public interest law groups called for a boycott.”


Arizona native and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “offered some modest criticism” of Arizona’s new immigration law, but told a San Francisco audience, “Don’t boycott us.”

A New York Times/CBS News poll found a majority of Americans approve of Arizona’s immigration law, although an overwhelming majority indicated U.S. immigration policies “need to be seriously overhauled.”

Health Care

“Trying to entice cost-weary employers to keep providing medical coverage to early retirees, the Obama administration is making $5 billion available until the safety net of the new health care law is in place.”

“Oklahoma’s attorney general agreed Monday to temporarily block enforcement of a controversial new state law that requires pregnant women to get an ultrasound and hear a detailed description of the fetus before they get an abortion.”

“The Kansas House mustered enough votes Monday to override the governor’s veto of a bill that requires more detailed diagnoses for late-term abortions.”

National Security

“A naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan who lives in Connecticut was pulled off a jet bound for Dubai at Kennedy Airport just before midnight on Monday and arrested for driving a car bomb into Times Square, in what turned out to be an unsuccessful attack, Justice Department officials announced.”


“Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the Navy would need to reduce its reliance on multibillion-dollar ships and submarines amid deepening U.S. economic woes, a sign the run-up in defense spending sparked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may be coming to an end.”

“Shattering a taboo dating from the Cold War, the Obama administration revealed Monday the size of the American nuclear arsenal — 5,113 weapons — as it embarked on a campaign for tougher measures against countries with hidden nuclear programs.”