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!

Dec 06, 2012

  • What should the U.S. learn from Europe's woes?

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    As President Obama and Capitol Hill lawmakers assess the need for spending cuts and tax increases against the risk of triggering a new recession, they might look across the Atlantic for insights from those who have already grappled with those budgetary questions.

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  • U.S.-approved arms for Libya rebels fell into Jihadis’ hands

    By James Risen, Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times

    The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

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  • Hispanic campaign donors look for new ways to flex their political muscle

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    They are an unlikely trio, these relative newcomers to the world of major-league political fundraising: a Hollywood actress who gained fame as a desperate housewife, a Texan who grew up walking picket lines with his labor-organizer father and a Harvard-educated lawyer from Puerto Rico.

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  • The secrets of the 2012 campaign

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    You’ve probably moved on from the 2012 presidential election. It’s clear that the Republican Party is trying to. Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio both gave high-profile speeches Tuesday in which they showed they had learned the lessons of Mitt Romney’s loss. “Both parties tend to divide Americans into ‘our voters’ and ‘their voters,’ ” said Ryan, sounding a little bit like Barack Obama circa 2008 and nothing like Mitt Romney, who was secretly recorded telling donors that 47 percent of the country wouldn’t vote for him because they considered themselves victims. “Republicans must steer far clear of that trap.” Sen. Rubio spoke at the same dinner as Ryan. Rubio mentioned the middle class 34 times in his half-hour speech, which may qualify him for a special badge of some sort.

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Dec 05, 2012

  • Tax deduction limits may trim deficits, but not easily

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Behind President Obama’s insistence that tax rates must rise on higher incomes is a belief that Republicans cannot raise as much revenue as they claim, $800 billion in the first decade, simply by limiting deductions and loopholes. Yet in the past, Mr. Obama supported that option to collect even more.

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  • Obama: Budget deal will unleash the economy

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    “I think America is poised to take off,” President Obama said Tuesday, dangling what many business leaders and economists agree is the real prize tucked inside any credible deficit pact enacted in Washington by year’s end.

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  • GOP deficit plan irks conservatives

    By Naftali Bendavid and Carole E. Lee, Wall Street Journal

    Conservatives on Tuesday took aim at House Speaker John Boehner's deficit-reduction proposal in the fiscal cliff talks, a dispute that was aggravated by Mr. Boehner's decision to remove some conservatives from prized committees.

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  • The physics of the year-end Fiscal-Cliff negotiations

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    On the PBS NewsHour, Erskine Bowles, cochairman of the noted deficit-reduction commission he led with Republican former Sen. Alan Simpson, said that Washington’s overdramatized fiscal-cliff negotiations amount to little more than “Kabuki theater.”

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  • White House to ask for $50 billion in hurricane relief aid

    By Peter Baker and Raymond Hernandez, The New York Times

    President Obama plans to ask Congress for about $50 billion in emergency spending to help rebuild the states ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, according to administration and Congressional officials briefed on the discussions.

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  • ANALYSIS: A sneak-peek at 2016

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Hardly a month has passed since the end of campaign 2012, but last night campaign 2016 seemed almost in sight.

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Dec 04, 2012

  • GOP makes counteroffer in cliff talks

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

    House Republicans on Monday made a fresh deficit-reduction proposal to the White House that calls for $800 billion in increased tax revenue, half of what President Barack Obama has proposed.

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  • Democratic group to offer tax plan with huge payoff

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Democratic luminaries with ties to the Obama and Clinton administrations, including two former Treasury secretaries and two former White House chiefs of staff, on Tuesday will enter the tax debate with an overhaul plan that would raise an additional $1.8 trillion in the first decade.

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  • Obama bets re-election gave him power to win fiscal cliff

    By Julianna Goldman and Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama is betting that his re-election gave him the political clout to force Republicans to accept higher taxes on upper-income Americans as a step toward reducing the federal deficit.

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  • Iran claims it has captured US spy drone over Persian Gulf

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • New revelations from Obama/Romney campaign on immigration, Facebook and that Eastwood speech

    By Amy Walter and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    The 2012 election cycle came full circle last week when representatives from the Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as top advisers to many of the GOP primary candidates and several influential outside groups, gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a 2012 debrief — finally answering some of the lingering questions about the race.

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Dec 03, 2012

  • Criticized as weak in past talks, Obama takes harder line

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Amid demands from Republicans that President Obama propose detailed new spending cuts to avert the year-end fiscal crisis, his answer boils down to this: you first.

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  • John Boehner on fiscal cliff negotiations: 'We're nowhere'

    By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner politely lashed out at President Obama over fiscal negotiations on Sunday, saying that after three weeks of talks the White House has offered “virtually nothing” toward an agreement to avert the large round of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take hold in January.

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  • Syria moves its chemical weapons, and U.S. and allies cautiously take note

    By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The Syrian military’s movement of chemical weapons in recent days has prompted the United States and several allies to repeat their warning to President Bashar al-Assad that he would be “held accountable” if his forces used the weapons against the rebels fighting his government.

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  • Egypt court, citing threats, cancels session on key issue in standoff with Morsi

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    Egypt’s highest court indefinitely postponed a highly anticipated ruling Sunday, leaving the nation’s upcoming referendum on the new constitution in a state of uncertainty and putting off for now a direct confrontation with President Mohammed Morsi over his claim of judicial immunity.

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  • Cabinet predictions for 2013

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    President Obama is likely to replace a large portion of his Cabinet for his second term, but will almost definitely replace all of the Big Three. At the State Department, Secretary Hillary Clinton has clearly signaled her intent to move on. At Treasury, Secretary Tim Geithner has done the same. And at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he'd prefer to return home to California.

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