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!

Jun 29, 2012

  • Health Care Ruling

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    The blockbuster decision was one of the court’s most important rulings in decades. Opponents of the law had said Congress’ power to regulate commerce didn’t extend to people who choose not to buy something, something that the court’s conservatives agreed with. Justice John Roberts did decide, however, that the law was a legitimate use of the congressional power to tax.

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  • Obama's Big Political Win Sets Stage for More Battles

    By Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee, The Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama won a monumental legal victory Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of his health-care law, but the fight for public opinion—and votes in November—showed signs of growing more heated. President Barack Obama won a monumental legal victory Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of his health-care law, but the fight for public opinion—and votes in November—showed signs of growing more heated.

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  • Health-care ruling motivates Romney supporters

    By Karen Tumulty and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post

    If conservatives needed any more motivation to unseat President Obama, they got it Thursday from the Supreme Court, which provided fresh political opportunities for Mitt Romney even as it handed the president a legal victory.

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Jun 27, 2012

  • Senate Leaders Reach Student-Loan Deal

    By Naftali Bendavid and Corey Boles, The Wall Street Journal

    Senate leaders said Tuesday they had reached a tentative deal to keep most student-loan interest rates at 3.4% for another year, preventing the rates from doubling on Sunday and potentially resolving a contentious election-year issue.

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  • Mitt Romney says he would lead on immigration, he just won’t say how

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Mitt Romney has had a lot to say about immigration over the past few days, but what he has said adds up to a giant question mark. Rarely has a presidential candidate had as many opportunities to clarify or recalibrate his position on a vital issue, and rarely has a candidate passed up those opportunities as consistently as the former governor.

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  • The immigration ruling: a hint on healthcare?

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    The Supreme Court's decision in the Arizona immigration case on Monday showed a conciliatory streak within a divided court that could emerge again when the justices issue their climactic healthcare decision on Thursday. What the Arizona compromise will augur for the most closely watched case of the term is anyone's guess. Yet the justices' evident search for common ground in the immigration ruling and a few other cases this term could portend a healthcare decision that does not predictably cleave along political lines.

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  • Evasive Maneuvers: Mitt Romney doesn’t want to say anything, specifically.

    by John Dickerson, Slate

    Mitt Romney has a problem with specifics. Since Scott Walker’s victory in Wisconsin, a growing number of Republicans have been calling for something more from him. His recent responses on questions from tax reform to immigration have been thin or nonexistent. When reporters tried to get an answer about the candidate’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law, his spokesperson was so evasive, my colleagues might want to plant a mulberry bush in the press section to make the next round of the game more lively. Usually you have to win the White House before you can be that skilled at ducking and weaving.

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  • Obama Campaign Banks on High-Tech Ground Game to Reach Voters

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    A cheer erupted at about 8 on a June evening as a woman scrawled with red marker on paper taped to the wall: the small group in a storefront Obama campaign office in this Mayberry-like southern Ohio town had exceeded the night’s goal of calling 700 voters with an hour to go, despite time out for a pep talk from a surprise visitor, former Gov. Ted Strickland.

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Jun 26, 2012

  • Analysis: What takes so long? Behind the scenes at Supreme Court

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    During a break from the crush of last-minute opinion-writing, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience of 1,000 people this month at a Washington legal convention: "It is flood season at the court." For the rest of the country it had been more like a drought, a stretch of weeks without any word in the most closely watched cases - the blockbuster challenges to President Barack Obama's healthcare plan and Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration.

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  • Narrow win for Arizona immigration law

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • On the Campaign Trail, Obama and Romney React to the Justices’ Decision

    By Helene Cooper and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

    The Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s strict immigration law gave President Obama another shot at energizing Latino voters, while Mitt Romney defended states’ aggressive efforts to fight illegal immigration. For Mr. Obama, both parts of the court’s split decision — striking down most of the law while letting stand the most controversial provision, which critics have dubbed “show me your papers” — have the potential to encourage get-out-the-vote efforts. He appealed to voters worried about racial profiling, given that the provision of the law the court let stand requires police offers to check for proof of legal residence.

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  • Analysis: Court hampers Romney's plea to Hispanics

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Mitt Romney wants to improve his troubled standing among Hispanic voters while saying as little as possible about immigration. Events keep working against him. The Supreme Court's ruling Monday on Arizona's immigration law, coming 10 days after President Barack Obama's announcement that allows some illegal immigrants to stay in the country, is the latest instance. Romney's cautious comments on the court decision underscored his discomfort with a topic that squeezes him between conflicting goals.

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  • Issa Letter Hammers Obama on Operation 'Fast and Furious'

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    The chairman of the House oversight committee investigating White House involvement in the botched “gun-walking” program that led to the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol agent accused President Obama on Monday of downplaying his involvement in the program or intentionally obstructing the Congress' inquiry.

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Jun 25, 2012

  • BIS Official Warns of Central-Bank Overreach

    By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal

    Jaime Caruana, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements and former governor of the Bank of Spain, warned Sunday that the recent aggressiveness of the world’s central banks may be creating “unrealistic expectations” about their power to “resolve the fundamental problems that hold back sustainable growth” and argued that more central bank action poses unwelcome risks.

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  • The Cornerstone

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Florida’s Hillsborough County, the site of this summer’s GOP convention, voted for Bush twice and then flipped to Obama. Winning here in 2012 might hold the key to the entire election.

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  • Health Care Decision Due This Week

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Egypt Results Leave White House Relieved but Watchful

    By Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The Obama administration, expressing relief on Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate will be Egypt’s next president, voiced cautious optimism that the choice could keep the country’s rocky transition to democracy on track.

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  • Romney's arithmetic problem

    By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times

    Here's an issue that hasn't been debated much in the presidential campaign but ought to be: How much should we spend on defense? President Obama has proposed keeping the Pentagon budget essentially flat for the next 10 years. Mitt Romney, by contrast, wants to increase defense spending massively — by more than 50% over current levels, according to one estimate. That could mean almost $2 trillion in additional military spending over 10 years.

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Jun 22, 2012

  • Senate Passes Farm Bill That Curtails Aid

    By Janet Hook and Damian Paletta, The Wall Street Journal

    The Senate passed a sweeping package of farm and nutrition-assistance programs that would reduce spending by billions of dollars partly by ending direct subsidies to farmers, setting up a showdown with House Republicans who have demanded steeper spending cuts in exchange for their support. The Senate bill passed 64 to 35 on Thursday, with 48 Democrats and 16 Republicans voting for the measure.

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  • Hoyer: House majority relies on Obama victory

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The House's number two Democrat said he believes the party will win control of the U.S. House this November, but President Obama must win re-election for it to happen. "In order for us to win back the House, the president will have to win this election," Hoyer said today. "And I think he will win this election."

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