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 28, 2013

  • Can Obama Make History on Immigration?

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    This is actually happening. That’s the viewpoint of Capitol Hill aides, lobbyists, advocates, and politicians who have been involved in the immigration debate for 10, 20, and in some cases 30 years. They are psyched. They are scared. They are sober.

    Read more
  • Immigration Debate Gears Up

    By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal

    Millions of illegal immigrants would be given a path to citizenship under provisions of an immigration overhaul fashioned by a bipartisan group of senators, an opening shot in what promises to be a fight in Congress this year.

    Read more
  • The Fed’s Profits: The Other Side of QE

    By Greg Ip, Economist

    Ever since the Federal Reserve first started buying up financial assets back in 2008, some have fretted about taxpayer exposure. The private debt purchased by the Fed to prop up the financial system might sour. The government bonds it has bought with newly created money, a strategy dubbed “quantitative easing” (QE), could fall in value if interest rates rose.

    Read more

Jan 25, 2013

  • Obama Shakes Up White House as He Names Chief of Staff

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama plans to shake up his White House staff on Friday, installing a new team largely made up of familiar faces moved to different positions as he gears up for an intense push on sweeping legislation early in his second term.

    Read more
  • U.S. Senate OKs Tweak to Filibuster Rules

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Senate voted Thursday to alter its parliamentary rules to make it easier to move legislation and judicial nominations through the chamber.

    Read more
  • One Tough-Talking Nerd: Bobby Jindal Brands Himself as Republican Reformer

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The speech Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal gave Thursday to a gathering of Republican party leaders, released in advance by his office, was organized by Roman numerals. I. America is not Washington. II. How we win the argument. III. How we win the election. IV. Conclusion. Jindal's delivery resembled that of a nervous student rushing through an oral recitation of a term paper. The audience was as distracted as a room of high school classmates.

    Read more
  • G.O.P. Mulls a Strategy From Obama’s Playbook

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    As Republican leaders gathered here on Thursday to consider how to rebuild their party, President Obama was at the center of the conversation. But the sharp criticism directed at him was replaced by something new: envy over his campaign.

    Read more
  • North Korea Threatens More Nuclear Tests, Warns U.S.

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Watch more

Jan 24, 2013

  • Hillary Clinton Testifies Before Congress

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Watch more
  • Benghazi Hearing: A Rollout for 2016 Contenders?

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    It only took 48 hours after a presidential inauguration for the political discourse to shift into animated chatter about the next president, or at least conjecture about the candidates who might want the job.

    Read more
  • House Passes Short-Term Debt-Limit Extension

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The U.S. House approved, 285-144, a bill to suspend the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling through May 18 to avert a U.S. default on its legal obligations and buy Washington more time to negotiate budget priorities.

    Read more
  • Ryan Says GOP Won’t Back Down on Spending Cuts

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    As House Republicans prepared to vote Wednesday on a plan to suspend the debt limit, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made clear that the party is in no way abandoning its uncompromising approach to the budget battle with President Obama.

    Read more
  • GOP Plots Path Back to Power

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    With President Obama’s second inauguration still ringing in their ears, Republican national party leaders are hunkering down for three days of soul-searching.

    The presidential election was the toughest, but not the last indignity. Congressional Republicans were backed into a corner during the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and forced to accept tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Still seeking leverage, GOP leaders are backing off a showdown over the debt ceiling. At Monday’s swearing-in, President Obama stuck it to the opposition party by laying out an unapologetically liberal agenda for the next four years.

    Read more
  • After Investigation Clears Allen, White House to Proceed with NATO Nomination

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The White House said Wednesday that it would move forward with the nomination of Gen. John R. Allen as the top NATO commander now that he has been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with a series of e-mails with a Florida socialite.

    Read more

Jan 23, 2013

  • House Gears Up to Vote on Temporary Debt Ceiling Hike

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republicans are scheduled to vote Wednesday to extend the nation's $16.4 trillion debt limit as the opening salvo in a renewed battle this year to pass a federal budget and reduce the debt.

    Read more
  • In New Term, First Year Is Crucial for Obama Agenda

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    The Constitution may promise President Obama another four years in the White House, but political reality calls for a far shorter time frame: he has perhaps as little as a year to accomplish his big-ticket goals for a second term.

    Read more
  • Democrats Grumbling About Obama Lobbying Shop

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Even as Democrats relish President Obama’ second inauguration, some party leaders are worried about whether the campaign’s decision to form its own advocacy group will hamstring future generations of Democratic candidates.

    Read more
  • House to Vote Wednesday on Plan to Suspend Debt Limit Until May

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

    House Republicans are advancing a novel plan to suspend enforcement of the federal debt limit through May 18, a move that would lift the threat of a government default and relieve the air of crisis that has surrounded their budget battle with President Obama.

    Read more
  • Obama's Big Risk: The Words He Didn't Say

    By John F. Harris and Alexander Burns, Politico

    Barack Obama’s foes, in candid moments, will often acknowledge that his most impressive trait is self-confidence. He has a sense of his own destiny, and an inner poise to keep focused on it even amid setback and distraction.

    Read more

Jan 22, 2013

  • Obama’s Political Speech

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In 2009, Barack Obama’s inauguration was a civil rights turning point. In his 2013 inaugural address, he sang the song of America's civil rights progress. He talked about how the growing support for the rights of women, African-Americans, and gays affirmed the essential promise in the Declaration of Independence. At a time when Washington seems so tiny you could fit it into your pocket, he asked everyone to look up from their Twitter feed to see how much had changed around them.

    Read more