The WonkLine: September 29, 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.


The heads of the federal banking regulators will testify tomorrow on implementation of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill, while on Friday “regulators convene the first meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he would push for a vote on China currency legislation in Congress’ lame-duck session. The bill would “allow the Commerce Department to consider currency values when calculating anti-subsidy duties on imports.”

Will the fate of Fannie and Freddie test the limits of the House Republicans’ Pledge?


Two days before the Senate heads home, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is expected to introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation. President Obama expressed skepticism about immigration reform passing any time soon because “unfortunately, right now, this [immigration] is getting demagogued.” The French government introduced tough new immigration legislation yesterday that would make it easier to expel undocumented immigrants and strip recently naturalized citizens of their French passports.

Climate Change

A “freakish fall heat wave” shattered records in California, Nevada and Colorado, while “bizarre” floods hit Minnesota, with the “damage to public property expected to far exceed the $6.4 million that would trigger federal aid.”


Scientists report that ocean acidification “may be contributing to a global decline of clams, scallops and other shellfish,” global warming threatens fall foliage, and rising temperatures mean more parasites on birds.

Labeling climate change “a serious public health issue,” more than “100 leading health advocates called on Washington policymakers this week to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”

Health Care

“Democrats and Republicans are waging an intense fight for the loyalties of older voters, who turn out reliably in midterm elections and whose fears have been stoked this year by the battle over health care.”

“First lady Michelle Obama helped promote her husband’s health care reform policy Tuesday, participating in a conference call to highlight the benefits available to patients under the new law.”


“Aetna will stop selling new health insurance to small groups in Colorado and move companies that are existing clients off the plan in the next year, affecting 1,200 companies and 5,200 employees and their dependents.”

National Security

“President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday lamented the slaying of a provincial official and renewed his appeal to insurgents to reconcile with the government, weeping openly when he said that he worries that his son might not be able to grow up in Afghanistan.”

“North and South Korea will hold military talks for the first time in two years Thursday at the border village of Panmunjon, officials say.” “The former wife of an Iranian-Canadian blogger who was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for his provocative writings says she’s stunned by the ruling. Hossein Derakhshan was sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of several offences, including spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment and insulting Islamic thoughts and religious figures.”