Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Mar 29, 2012

  • Clock Ticks on U.S.'s Fiscal Time Bomb

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Pundits and pollsters speculate hourly on the outcome of the next Republican presidential primary. Business executives and investors increasingly focus on whether Congress and the president will defuse the fiscal time bomb they have built—or whether they will be so paralyzed that the bomb will go off at year-end.
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  • Can Health Care Law Survive Without Insurance Mandate?

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Parties Brace for Fallout in Court’s Ruling on Health Care

    By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

    The law professor side of President Obama is highly intrigued by the Supreme Court hearings over the constitutionality of his health care law. He studied a summary of the arguments aboard Air Force One as he flew back from a nuclear summit meeting in South Korea. The political side of the president may need to draw upon his judicial patience as he awaits a ruling that will help shape the final stages of the presidential race.
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Mar 28, 2012

  • US top court struggles with entire healthcare law's fate

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The U.S. Supreme Court struggled on Wednesday with what to do about President Barack Obama's entire healthcare overhaul should the nine justices hold the insurance requirement underpinning the law is invalid under the U.S. Constitution.

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  • Supreme Court Weighs All-or-nothing on Healthcare Law

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The Supreme Court opened its final day weighing the fate of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, considering on Wednesday whether the entire law can stand should the court rule against its centerpiece mandate that most people buy insurance.
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    Former presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks out against the health reform law in Washington, DC (CNN)

  • Newt Gingrich Scales Back Campaign

    By Nia-Malika Henderson and Aaron Blake, Washington Post

    Newt Gingrich, who once led the Republican presidential field only to see his standing diminished after a string of losses, will reduce his campaign schedule and lay off a third of his staff in a strategy shift that underscores his fading chances of claiming the party’s nomination. The former House speaker has already replaced his top aide, Michael Krull, with Vince Haley, who had been deputy campaign manager and a policy adviser.
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  • House Panel Seeks Regulations, Reviews in Trayvon's Death

    By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

    Congress should investigate gun laws, the lack of regulations on local neighborhood watch groups and the social status of black men and boys, a group of House Democrats said Tuesday at a forum spurred by the shooting last month of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. Trayvon Martin's parents were at the Capitol Hill panel, which also debated racial profiling, hate crimes and "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws.
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  • Justices Skeptical of Health Care Law

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Re: No Friend to Women...

    By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

    Suzi Parker’s post about Arkansas reminds me of some stats I came across last week in researching my story about the dearth of women in politics. There are actually four states in the union that have never elected a woman to either house of Congress, and they seem to have almost nothing in common other than that. They are Iowa, Mississippi, Delaware and ... Vermont.
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  • Health Ruling Looms Small in Obama Race

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The Supreme Court's much-anticipated ruling on health care, expected in late June, may have one surprising outcome: a modest impact on President Barack Obama's re-election bid, even though he is intimately associated with the challenged law. That wouldn't be the case if anyone other than Mitt Romney was Obama's likeliest Republican challenger this fall. Romney, however, is singularly ill-positioned to capitalize on the issue because he championed a similar health care law as Massachusetts governor in 2006.
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Mar 27, 2012

  • Supreme Court Divided over Obama Healthcare Law

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared closely divided along ideological lines over whether Congress had the power to require most people in the United States to buy medical insurance, with conservative justices asking skeptical questions about President Barack Obama's healthcare law and liberals defending it.
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  • Review of ‘Obamacare’ Puts GOP Spotlight on Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Law

    By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz, Washington Post

    Health care was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s Achilles’ heel: The state overhaul he championed as governor of Massachusetts is so similar to the sweeping federal law conservatives deride as “Obamacare” that it was once widely regarded as a big enough liability to doom his presidential chances. But Romney remains the overwhelming favorite in a topsy-turvy campaign in which health care has rarely been the driving issue, and he is picking up the support of prominent conservatives as he moves toward securing his party’s nomination.
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    Rick Santorum speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC (CNN)

  • Supreme Court Moves to Heart of Obama Healthcare Case

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The Supreme Court confronted the core of President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Tuesday, zeroing in on whether Congress had the power to require most people in the United States to buy medical insurance.
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  • High Court Hears Health Care Arguments

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    NBC's Pete Williams reports on the Health Care Reform case before the Supreme Court

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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  • Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds

    By Dalia Sussman, Helene Cooper, and Kate Phillips, New York Times

    Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News. At the heart of the opposition is the individual mandate requiring Americans to obtain health insurance, the least popular part of the bill and a crucial piece at the center of the court arguments, which began Monday and will turn to the mandate on Tuesday.
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  • Obama’s Etch A Sketch Moment? Will 'Space' and 'Flexibility' Haunt Obama on Foreign Policy?

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    For a president gearing up to seek reelection in part based on muscular foreign-policy credentials, President Obama Monday gave his critics two words that may reverberate on the campaign trail as much as "Etch A Sketch." “Space” and “flexibility.” The obsessed political world fed for 48 hours on the Etch A Sketch metaphor by Mitt Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom.
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Mar 26, 2012

  • Supreme Court Unlikely to Delay Obama Healthcare Ruling

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    The Supreme Court on Monday appeared prepared to decide the fate of President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare law soon, rather than delaying for years a ruling on the mandate that Americans buy insurance or pay a penalty.
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  • Supreme Court Hears Historic Healthcare Law

    By Joan Biskupic and James Vicini, Reuters

    President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul on Monday went before the U.S. Supreme Court where the nine justices began hearing arguments in a historic test of the law's validity under the U.S. Constitution. The sweeping law intended to transform healthcare for millions of people in the United States has generated fierce political debate. Republican presidential hopefuls and members of Congress have vowed to roll back the March 23, 2010, law they say will financially burden states, businesses and individuals.
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    Supreme Court The US Supreme Court (FlickrCC/S.E.B.)

  • Obama Says U.S. Reducing Nuclear Arsenal Won’t Harm Security

    By Margaret Talev and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama committed to further reduce America’s nuclear stockpile, saying his country had more nuclear weapons than it needed and that it wouldn’t compromise national security. Obama, who spoke at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said the U.S. will seek talks with Russia on steps to reduce their arsenals of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, as well as the number of warheads they have in reserve.
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  • Employers Monitor Health Care Law Arguments

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The Supreme Court won't rule on President Obama's health care case until June. Republicans vow to repeal the law if they win big in November. David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to David Greene about how the ruling could affect doctors, hospitals, employers and consumers.

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