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 07, 2013

  • Chuck Hagel's Nomination as Defense Secretary to Come Monday

    By Christi Parsons and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama plans to nominate former Republican senator Chuck Hagel on Monday to serve as secretary of Defense, an administration official said Sunday.

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  • Are People Being Unfair to the House Republicans?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    It's open season on the House Republicans these days, and the incoming fire isn't just coming from the left. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, blasted House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief; the conservative commentator John Podhoretz accused right-wing members of Congress of "literally embracing chaos" with their ill-fated attempt to oust Boehner from the speakership on Thursday.

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  • The Worst Job in Congress

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Spare a little sympathy, if you can, for John A. Boehner of Ohio, speaker of the House of Representatives.

    On paper, he's the most powerful Republican in the land. In practice, he's caught between a cliff and a ceiling as the uneasy chairman of an unhappy and fractious caucus.

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  • Rebound in Construction Hiring Offers Hope for Economy

    By Jim Tankersley and By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post

    After five years of hemorrhaging jobs, the construction industry has become one of the bright spots of the labor market — a hopeful sign that one of the most damaged sectors of the economy may finally be starting to heal.

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Jan 04, 2013

  • If US Could Only Spend What It Gets In Taxes ...

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Cliff? What cliff?

    By Greg Ip, Economist

    IT HAS been a month of high drama on America's economic policy front as leaders in Washington grappled with the fiscal cliff. But not many people out in the real world seemed to care, and the economy has done just fine. Non-farm employment advanced 155,000, or 0.1%, in December from November, the federal government reported today.

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  • Boehner Re-Elected as House speaker

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was re-elected to a second two-year term to lead a polarized Congress, which convened for the 113th session on Thursday. Debates on deficit reduction, immigration, and gun laws are on the agenda.

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  • Fiscal-Cliff Law by the Numbers

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    It took a while, but the budget bean-counters are beginning to come up with charts and tables to show the impact of the tax law (formally, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed this week.

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  • Paul Ryan vs. Marco Rubio: The Politics of the Cliff Vote

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Lumped together as two of the youngest and brightest Republican stars, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida parted ways on the fiscal cliff, with votes that reflect divergent strategies for building their party and political futures.

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  • This is What Happens When You Cross Chris Christie

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Late Tuesday night, House Republicans abruptly decided that nearly derailing the bipartisan fiscal-cliff deal was not enough of a public-relations disaster. Surely, they reasoned, there was a way they could look worse in this whole process. And so, at the last minute, they declined to consider the bill passed by the Senate to deliver billions in disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

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  • Taliban Commander Maulvi Nazir Killed in US Drone Attack

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Martha Raddatz reports on the attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan boarder

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Jan 03, 2013

  • 4 Lessons for Round 2 of 'Fiscal Cliff' Fight

    By Susan Davis, David Jackson, Richard Wolf and Susan Page, USA Today

    This fiscal cliff: averted.

    Next fiscal cliff: ahead.

    Partisan divisions and brinksmanship politics defined the outgoing Congress right up to the final scramble to avoid the "fiscal cliff." The last-ditch deal dodged income-tax hikes for nearly all Americans and delayed for two months spending cuts for the Pentagon and domestic programs.

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  • House GOP Under Fire

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Lawmakers Gird for Next Fiscal Clash, on the Debt Ceiling

    By Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    With the resolution of the year-end fiscal crisis just hours old, the next political confrontation is already taking shape as this city braces for a fight in February over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. But it is a debate President Obama says he will have nothing more to do with.

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  • Business Leaders Say ‘Cliff’ Deal Won’t Ease Economic Uncertainty

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    A day after Congress managed to avert the fiscal cliff, business leaders warned that the agreement will hurt sales and hiring, won’t unlock investment and leaves the economy riddled with congressionally imposed land mines for months to come.

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  • Obama Taking Campaign-Style Approach to New Goals

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    In the thick of the fiscal cliff impasse Monday, even as a Senate agreement was hours from being a certainty, Republican lawmakers were chagrined to hear President Obama zoom beyond the tax battle to plant some partisan seeds for spring.

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  • Has the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Fight Changed How Washington Works?

    By Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten, The Washington Post

    As ugly as they were, the “fiscal cliff” negotiations produced something Washington hadn’t seen in a long time: strongly bipartisan votes in the House and the Senate on a big, contentious issue.

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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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