The WonkLine: October 27, 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.


After a Mexican immigrant told the media that Dallas police had cited her for being a “non-English-speaking driver,” it turned out that 39 drivers have been wrongfully ticketed in Dallas for not speaking English.

Labor groups are calling on the Obama administration to establish an agreement between the Labor Department and immigration authorities with rules for cooperation and an understanding that labor law enforcement would not be trumped by immigration enforcement.


Dennis Burke, U.S. attorney for Arizona, has been named the chairman of the Border and Immigration Law Enforcement Subcommittee and will advise U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Health Care

“Only two Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Ben Nelson (D-NE), would not yet commit to moving ahead with a bill that includes a public option with opt-out.”

House Republicans are “questioning AARP’s support of the Democrats’ health care overhaul efforts, saying the reform plan could prove costly to seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program.” Washington Post also has a critical piece on the organization.

“Democratic leaders were forced to include a national public health insurance option as part of health care reform by progressive Democratic senators who refused to support anything less, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Monday.”

Climate Change

Spurred by the Drudge Report, right-wing bloggers are enflamed that Sir Nicholas Stern praised “a vegetarian diet,” crying about the “millennial cult” of global warming and warning vegetarianism will lead to a “world government.”


The American Energy Alliance, part of the GOP-oil Institute for Energy Research, is running a Halloween-themed ad attacking Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his “scary” “support for a new national energy tax called cap and trade.”

“Activities such as home weatherization, routine vehicle maintenance and opting for the clothesline instead of the dryer could cut total U.S. carbon emissions by 5 percent over just five years and 7.4 percent in 10 years.”


Yesterday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) proposed freezing all credit card rates until new credit card regulations take effect in February. Dodd “said his bill was necessary because banks were raising rates ‘to squeeze customers’.”

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman Sachs defended “dark pools, short-selling, high-frequency trading and other market practices that have been criticized by lawmakers,” saying that they reduce consumer cost and increase competition.

The New York Times examines how the recession is driving a surge in youth runaways: “Teenagers living on their own in eight states told of a harrowing existence…after fleeing or being kicked out by families in financial crisis.”

National Security

Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday “that Iran could endorse a United Nations deal for it to send uranium abroad for processing for peaceful uses, the first official indication that Tehran could respond positively to the agreement.” The Washington Times reports that “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began a high-level visit to Iran on Monday with criticism of Western pressure on Iran over its nuclear program and promises to double trade with the Islamic republic by 2011.” According to the Voice of America, “an al-Qaida-linked group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s devastating car bombings in Baghdad that killed at least 155 people and wounded more than 500 others. The militant group named the Islamic State in Iraq announced it was behind the twin suicide bombings in a statement posted on a militant Web site.”