The WonkLine: September 9, 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.


“Elizabeth Warren slipped quietly into Washington on Tuesday to talk with President Obama about the possibility of leading the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” the Washington Post reports.

Secretary of State Clinton said yesterday that the country’s deficit is a “threat to national security,” calling it a “message of weakness internationally.”

Mike Konczal looks at what the long-term unemployed can tell us about raising the retirement age.

Health Care

“Declaring the beginning of the ‘next phase’ of a program to combat childhood obesity, the first lady, Michelle Obama, called on Congress on Wednesday to pass legislation that would make many of the program’s initiatives possible.”


“Companies expect to spend an average of 5.9% more per employee on health insurance next year after shifting some costs to workers and making other changes.”

“Lawmakers are on the last legs of their summer vacation, and GOP leaders are preparing their flock for the 1099 debate they’ll face immediately upon the return to Washington.”

Climate Change

While BP’s report on its Deepwater Horizon disaster shifts the blame, “a new report from an Interior Department review board has found that poorly trained, ill-equipped and overextended federal inspectors…were routinely bullied by industry representatives.”

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) said “Environmental Protection Agency regulators are ‘out of hand’ and that the ‘only way to temper their regulatory zeal would be to cut their budget in half.’”


It was “the hottest summer on record for Baltimore,” “state environmental Commissioner Bob Martin expanded a drought watch to cover all of New Jersey,” and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told climate deniers “burying one’s head in the sand is not a solution.”


Federal agents found 37 suspected undocumented immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside, CA where some had been held captive for weeks. The Migration Policy Institute released a report which shows that denying automatic citizenship to U.S.-born babies of undocumented immigrants would cause the undocumented population to grow by at least 5 million people. Despite Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R-AZ) “horrifyingly bad performance” during last week’s primary debate, Brewer is still polling significantly ahead of opponent Terry Goddard.

National Security

“U.S. Marines early Thursday boarded and seized control of a German-owned commercial vessel that had been commandeered by pirates, in what appeared to be the first American-led military boarding of its kind amid a recent surge of attacks in the Gulf of Aden and along the east coast of Africa.” “North Korea is celebrating the anniversary of its founding as speculation grows that Kim Jong Il’s youngest son will be named heir apparent.” “The white flags of the Taliban no longer fly from neighborhoods in Kandahar City, as they did in some areas only two weeks ago, replaced instead by the red, black and green Afghan colors. But if the Taliban have been driven further underground, there has been no significant let-up in their campaign of terror and assassination.”