The WonkLine: September 9, 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.


Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has decided to remain chairman of the Senate Banking Committee — passing on the chairmanship of the HELP committee — “where he will lead a wholesale reform of financial industry regulation.”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said today that “multiyear guaranteed contracts for bankers should be banned and the ‘clawback’ of pay should be permitted to discourage excessive risk-taking.”


A new report from the TARP’s Congressional Oversight Panel finds that “a $5.4 billion portion of the $10.5 billion owed [to the government] by Chrysler is ‘highly unlikely’ to be repaid, while full recovery of the $50 billion sunk into GM would require the company’s stock to reach unprecedented heights.”

Climate Change

“I’m not signing onto any bill that rips off Wisconsin,” Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) said of clean energy and climate legislation. “Western Wisconsin is particularly strong in being concerned about this because of their reliance on coal. There is a real possibility … that it will be unfair to Wisconsin and Wisconsin ratepayers.”

Patrick Fleenor, chief economist of the right-wing Tax Foundation writes in the Detroit News that “many prominent scientists” believe in global warming, but “other, equally eminent scientists dismiss this notion.”

A new NASA movie shows plumes of carbon monoxide from the ongoing California wildfires spreading across the entire United States.

Health Care

White House aides are suggesting that in tonight’s speech, President Obama will argue that a public health insurance option is the best way to reduce health care costs without insisting on it.


Major Garrett is reporting that “Democratic leaders are working on a rough calendar that envisions House floor action by the end of September or the first week of October. In the Senate, Democrats hope to pass a health care bill by no later than the second week of October.”

The New Republic’s Suzy Khimm explains what Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) trigger would look like.


Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has started arresting immigrants for outstanding charges such as unpaid traffic tickets and fines, effectively bypassing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by adding immigration charges only after the arrest is made. Six New England boys between the ages of 11–14 have been charged with “severely” beating a sleeping Guatemalan immigrant in an attack that some groups are describing as “hateful.” Not long after accepting a DHS post that put her in charge of overhauling the nation’s broken immigration detention system, Dora B. Schriro has resigned and accepted a position as commissioner of correction for New York City.

National Security

“British conservative Leader David Cameron has condemned the “naked” corruption on display in last month’s Afghan elections,” the Guardian reports. “Cameron went much further than Gordon Brown, who in a letter released today said the Afghan poll marked “an important step” in the country’s democratic history.” According to the BBC, “Israel says it is pushing ahead with delayed plans to build almost 500 more homes for Jewish settlers in Jerusalem. The project is for the Pisgat Zeev settlement in annexed East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 war.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry will hold a ceremony to hand over its package of proposals to representatives of world powers, a ministry statement said.