The Wonkline: November 25, 2009

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, and subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, you can now follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.

Climate Change

“Climate change is likely to hit the water-starved Arab world harder than many other parts of the globe and threatens to slash agricultural output in the area,” U.N. and Arab League officials said.

Climate-hack Swiftboating: the Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to sue climate scientist Gavin Schmidt for the “inappropriate behavior” of moderating comments at his blog, RealClimate.


Yet more Swifthack harassment: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) are targeting the years-old “correspondence of White House Science Adviser John Holdren.”


Former CNN host Lou Dobbs is reportedly weighing a run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) as a “steppingstone” to a run for President.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns has sued the state, arguing that the state legislature “unconstitutionally approved policy changes that affect…how cities enforce requirements that people show proof of citizenship to receive government benefits.”

U.S. and Canadian safety chiefs vowed yesterday “to jointly combat organized crime and violent extremism in a bid to boost legal travel and trade across their shared border.”

Health Care

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber says that too few lawmakers are worrying about the affordability measures in health care reform. “Let’s put it this way: It is 10 times as important as the public option and has received one one-hundredth of the coverage,” he says


Kaiser Health News asks “how would legislation affect premiums paid by individuals and small businesses, two groups that currently face wildly unpredictable rate increases year to year?”

Why does Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) think that his best shot to pass health care reform is through regular order?


According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., at least 552 banks “are still at risk of going under.” This is the highest number of banks on the FDIC’s “problem list” since 1993.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) “has asked key members of his committee to split off into bipartisan working groups in an effort to break the logjam on financial reform legislation.”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned yesterday that “swift interest rate hikes aimed at containing inflation in product and asset prices could cause another downturn in the slowly recovering economies of the United States and Europe.”

National Security

“Iran would be willing to give up some of its stock of low-enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for a medical reactor, as long as the swap takes place on its own soil,” Iranian officials said yesterday. “The United States, Russia and France have indicated that they would reject any swap on Iranian soil.”


“A key official in the Obama administration’s effort to remake detention policy and close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has resigned.” Phillip Carter “said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for ‘personal and family reasons’ and not because of any policy differences with the administration.”

“Israel has rejected a demand for the release of two Hamas commanders as part of any exchange for a captured Israeli soldier, a source close to negotiations said Wednesday, signaling talks had hit a snag.”