The WonkLine: September 24, 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.

Climate Change

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt yesterday “warned that the lack of a comprehensive U.S. energy policy and the ‘stupid’ current structure of the industry are causing America to fall behind in new energy fields.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has said that she will “block the appointment of Jack Lew to the post of Office of Management and Budget director until the White House committed to lifting or significantly altering its moratorium on deepwater drilling.”

New data shows that 2010 could have “the second lowest summer ice cover in recorded history.”

Health Care

“In her campaign to reduce childhood obesity and improve school nutrition, Michelle Obama has become entangled in a fight with White House allies, including liberal Democrats and advocates for the poor.”


“One of the most critical aspects of the federal health overhaul for insurers is shaping up as a mixed bag for the industry, as regulators issued draft rules Thursday on how the companies must account for how much they spend directly on patients’ medical care.”

“A Senate GOP forum to discuss Don Berwick’s role as the CMS administrator quickly morphed into an attack on the new health reform law.”


Joel Kotkin writes in Politico that “Latino Democrats mindlessly follow liberal Democrats” and urges Latinos to “rethink their loyalty” despite Arizona’s immigration law. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has called off its boycott of Arizona over the Senate Bill 1070 immigration law. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is “offended” by a billboard display of a large photo of a Latino family with a quote by Babeu that reads “This is our most serious public safety issue and a national security threat to America.”


Senate Democrats have decided to punt a vote on the Bush tax cuts to a lame duck session after the November elections.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker yesterday “scrapped a prepared speech he had planned to deliver…and instead delivered a blistering, off-the-cuff critique leveled at nearly every corner of the financial system.”


Even with federal stimulus dollars, “2010 overall funding for K-12 education was lower in 34 states than it was in 2009,” according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

National Security

“The issue of Iran’s nuclear program was little more than a footnote in President Obama’s wide-ranging, 35-minute speech before the United Nations yesterday. But behind the scenes, US and Iranian officials appeared to be engaging in preliminary efforts to reopen talks to resolve what many consider the greatest global threat: a nuclear-armed Iran.”

“Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision not to sell advanced weaponry to Iran is being hailed as a dividend of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy with Russia.”

“Plans by the British government to make significant cuts in defense spending have spurred concerns among American military experts about Britain’s ability to carry out its role as the United States’ most dependable ally.”