The WonkLine: September 22, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 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.


After a 56–43 procedural vote held up consideration of the defense authorization bill that contained the DREAM Act as an amendment, Sen. Harry Reid stated, “We’re going to vote on the DREAM Act. It’s only a question of when.” A court rejected a request by the sponsor of Arizona’s new immigration law, state Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) to be a party in the state’s appeal of a ruling that put parts of the law on hold. Two-thirds of all Georgians want to bar undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s public colleges, even if they pay out-of-state tuition.

Health Care

“Six months after President Barack Obama signed the landmark health care law, the nation still doesn’t really know what’s in it. More than half of Americans mistakenly believe the overhaul will raise taxes for most people this year, an Associated Press poll finds.”


“On Wednesday, President Obama will tell Americans what benefits the law can have for them right now. But it appears the political benefits of the measure have yet to materialize for the White House.”

“Kathleen Sebelius says the hardest part of her job hasn’t been implementing an overhaul of the insurance system or pushing out numerous regulations on tight deadlines — it’s batting back a constant ‘drumbeat’ of ‘erroneous information.’”

Climate Change

“When we pull things out of the ground, and we pull things out of the seabed, and we drill in the Rockies, we occasionally make mistakes,” said Luke Popovich, a spokesman at the National Mining Association, describing the “regrettable” series of coal mine, oil drilling, and natural gas disasters in the United States this year.

The remnants of Hurricane Karl swept away a person in Texas, and a “new tropical storm compounded Mexico’s misery on Tuesday.”


Activists are preparing for Appalachia Rising, “three days of coalfield residents and activists from across the country standing together for an end to mountaintop removal,” from September 25–27 in Washington DC.


“President Barack Obama’s signature tax policy, known as the Making Work Pay credit, might not continue past this year, just like the Bush-era tax cuts,” if Congress allows it to expire.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler yesterday “laid out an aggressive timetable for implementing regulations for the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market,” saying most of the rules will be in place by mid-July 2011.

According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration “has failed for decades to establish a system to shield whistleblowers from retaliation from their employers.”

National Security

“A suicide bombing struck a large crowd at military parade in western Iran on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring 20 during a nationalist holiday meant to underscore Iran’s battle readiness.” “Nine U.S. soldiers were killed Tuesday when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, making 2010 the deadliest year for NATO forces there.” “Large riots erupted in east Jerusalem on Wednesday as approximately 1,000 people joined a funeral procession for a Palestinian man killed by an Israeli security guard in Silwan on Wednesday morning. Ten people were injured.”