The WonkLine: October 28, 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.


A USA TODAY review of reports from 33 states and Puerto Rico shows that economic stimulus package is having a “significant impact on the economy,” creating or saving 388,000 jobs this year in those states.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon yesterday endorsed efforts to create a resolution authority for unwinding complex financial firms. “We think everyone should be able to fail — being able to fail is a good thing — but you don’t want a failure that ruins America,” Dimon said.


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said yesterday “that it had no choice but to instruct [AIG] last November to reimburse the full amount of what it owed to big banks on derivatives contracts,” which Bloomberg News estimates cost taxpayers $13 billion.

National Security

Reuters reports that “a car bomb ripped through a crowded market killing 90 people in Pakistan’s city of Peshawar on Wednesday, just hours after Washington’s top diplomat arrived pledging a fresh start in sometimes strained relations.” Iran analyst Meir Javedanfar wishes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a happy 53rd birthday, warning him “the people of Iran are the country’s most powerful asset. Ignoring and abusing them has been perilous before, and could be again.” AFP reports that “the Hamas-run interior ministry in the Gaza Strip said that it will ban the organization of elections called for by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the coastal territory.”


CNN’s documentary feature “Latinos in America” attracted far fewer viewers than “Black in America” and MediaBistro’s Kevin Allocca reports that “the bigger story” ended up being the hypocrisy of CNN reaching out to Latinos while keeping on Lou Dobbs.


Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) told NPR’s Jennifer Ludden that immigration reform can not wait and has a “window of February and March.”

Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a 61% job-approval rating and 60% of Maricopa County residents disagreed with the government actions aimed at limiting his immigration enforcement power.

Health Care

In light of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) refusal to vote for a national opt-out public option, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) “is floating an alternative that would make a national public insurance option available initially only in states where private insurance is deemed unaffordable. Other states would eventually be able to opt into the public option under the Carper proposal.”

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “has less than 200 votes for a public option pegged to Medicare, even though it would save an estimated $85 billion from the final cost of the health care bill.”

Has the American Medical Association lost its power and influence?

Climate Change

“Noah never would have survived the EPA”: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Rep. David Obey (D-WI) joined forces to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse pollution from agribusiness and Great Lakes diesel ships, respectively.


In the first day of hearings on the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs Act, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) argued Montana “cannot afford the unmitigated affects of climate change legislation,” but Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said “you could argue that this bill is not moving fast enough.”

Scientists have found that “relatively minor increases in ocean acidity brought about by high levels of carbon dioxide have significant detrimental effects on the growth, development, and survival of hard clams, bay scallops, and Eastern oysters,” and that coral reefs, also under threat from ocean acidification, provide “annual services to humans valued at US $130,000 on average, rising to as much as $1.2 million” per hectare