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!

Jan 02, 2013

  • Divided GOP House Approves Senate 'Fiscal Cliff' Plan

    By Susan Davis and David Jackson, USA Today

    A divided Republican House passed the Senate's "fiscal cliff" agreement Tuesday night, following a tense day of GOP protests that the plan does not do enough to rein in federal spending.

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  • Congress Passes Cliff Deal

    By Janet Hook, Siobhan Hughes, and Corey Boles, Wall Street Journal

    Congress broke a rancorous stalemate Tuesday to pass legislation designed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But the compromise bill, which blocked most impending tax increases and postponed spending cuts largely by raising taxes on upper-income Americans, left a host of issues unresolved and guaranteed continued budget clashes between the parties.

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  • On the Left, Seeing Obama Giving Away Too Much, Again

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    For President Obama, the fiscal deal passed by Congress on Tuesday finally ends four years of debate with Republicans about raising tax rates on the wealthy. But it seemed to reopen a debate within his party about the nature of his leadership and his skills as a negotiator.

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  • Gun-Control Converts Could Pave Way to New Laws

    By Fawn Johnson and Alex Roarty, National Journal

    Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., does not shy away from the “pro-gun Democrat” label. He has a B-plus rating with the National Rifle Association, a score docked only because he supported the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and he represents a state with a strong hunting tradition.

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  • The Perils of Political Punditry

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Back in 2011, at the dawn of a long presidential campaign, I established a fine baseline for my credentials as a political prognosticator: I told readers that Mitt Romney's strongest challengers for the Republican nomination would be Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

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Dec 28, 2012

  • Cliff Talks Down to the Wire

    By Janet Hook and Carol E. Lee, Wall Street Journal

    Congress and the White House took small steps toward breaking the budget impasse Thursday, but Democrats and Republicans grew increasingly fearful they won't be able to avert the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff, a prospect that is unnerving consumers and investors.

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  • Clock Ticks on a Deal Deadline

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Obama Summons Congressional Leaders for ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post

    President Obama summoned congressional leaders to a Friday summit at the White House in a last-ditch effort to protect taxpayers, unemployed workers and the fragile U.S. recovery from severe austerity measures set to hit in just four days.

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  • Gay Republicans Take Out Ad Criticizing Hagel

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    The White House may not be making any more announcements about President Obama’s new national security team this week, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-Chuck Hagel drumbeat.

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  • Possible Strike at Docks Would Cripple Key U.S. Ports, Hurt Economy

    By Michael A. Fletcher and Brad Plumer, The Washington Post

    Thousands of dockworkers from Baltimore to Houston are threatening to go on strike Sunday over their pay, a move that could throttle an array of key ports and disrupt commerce at a critical juncture for the economy.

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Dec 27, 2012

  • Obama, Senators to Discuss Budget Moves

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Ending his holiday break early, President Obama expects to be back at the White House by midday Thursday to search with senators for an escape hatch to avert more than $500 billion in tax hikes and automatic spending reductions that take effect next week should Washington fail to act.

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  • Fiscal Cliff Just Days Away

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Debt Ceiling Nears as Budget Talks Stymied

    By Janet Hook and Damian Paletta, Wall Street Journal

    The Treasury Department said Wednesday the government would hit its legal borrowing limit by Monday, setting in motion emergency measures to keep the government operating for several more weeks and serving as a reminder that the nation's budget wrangling could continue well into 2013.

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  • On ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Obama and Senators Returning to Washington for One Last Attempt at deal

    By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    With historic tax increases set to hit virtually every American in five days, President Obama and members of the Senate are headed back to Washington on Thursday to take one last shot at a deal to protect taxpayers and the gathering economic recovery.

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  • Home Prices Rose Over Past Year, Another Sign that Market is Recovering

    By Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

    Home prices saw solid gains over the past year, according to a new report Wednesday, adding to the evidence that the housing market turned a corner in 2012, even in the hardest-hit parts of the country.

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  • Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Signs Constitution, Reaches Out to Critics – but No Sale

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi enacted a newly passed divisive constitution Wednesday even as he attempted to reach out to opponents in his most conciliatory remarks since voters began considering the document.

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Dec 26, 2012

  • Some Urge Boehner: Let Dems Pass Fiscal Cliff Bill

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    In case the public weren't frustrated enough over Congress' failure to resolve the "fiscal cliff," consider this: lawmakers probably could enact a compromise quickly and easily if Republican leaders let Democrats provide most of the votes.

    That would give Democrats a bigger voice in the bargain, of course, which the Republican-led House is loath to do. That's why about 10 percent of the House's members — staunch anti-tax conservatives — were able to thwart Speaker John Boehner's bid to pass a narrowly crafted bill that might have strengthened his bargaining hand.

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  • Republicans Aren't the Only Gun-Control Obstacle

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    President Obama’s call for Congress to show the “courage” to consider new gun-control laws was aimed at Republicans, but he faces challenges with members of his own party who have a history of cowering from the gun debate.

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  • Congress Has Outsized Influence Over Obama's Cabinet

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    Robert Bork's 1987 nomination to the Supreme Court, and the uproar over his ideology that ultimately led to his defeat, forever changed the process by which the Senate confirms judges. In the 25 years that have followed Bork's nomination, the two parties have fought increasingly bitter battles over high court picks in an effort to tilt the third branch of government their way. In 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary added the verb "to bork" -- to systematically defame or vilify a person, especially in the mass media -- to their lexicon.

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  • After Benghazi, Reassessing Risk

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Soon — perhaps very soon — the Syrian government of Bashar Assad will fall. On that day, and for months after, Damascus will probably be a disorderly and dangerous place, a risky place for American diplomats to be.

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