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 04, 2012

  • 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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Nov 30, 2012

  • Obama taking "fiscal cliff" fight to the public

    With Major Garrett, CBS News

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  • Obama makes fresh demands on ‘fiscal cliff’

    By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    President Obama offered Republicans a detailed plan Thursday for averting the year-end “fiscal cliff” that calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, $50 billion in fresh spending on the economy and an effective end to congressional control over the size of the national debt.

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  • GOP calls White House cliff offer a non-starter

    By Susan Davis and Aamer Madhani, USA Today

    House Speaker John Boehner flatly rejected a $4 trillion Obama administration plan to avoid going over the fiscal cliff that was presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a private meeting Thursday.

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  • Charities fight to keep tax break on donations

    By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

    In 2011, the nation's biggest charities swung into action to oppose President Barack Obama using limits on tax deductions to help pay for a jobs bill. Warning that such a move would hurt charitable giving, they prevailed, and Democrats looked elsewhere.

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  • Can Obama deliver on his education-to-jobs proposal?

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    President Obama is among the throng of public officials who tout education as the path to economic success. “Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now, more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life,” he said at the Democratic National Convention in September.

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Nov 29, 2012

  • Obama tilts tax debate away from spending cuts

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama surrounded himself with taxpayers on Wednesday to pitch his plan to preserve current rates for the middle class and raise them for the wealthy. A day before, he met with small-business owners for the same purpose. On Friday, he plans to fly to Pennsylvania to tour a factory to make the same point.

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  • ‘Fiscal cliff’ talks bogged down by dispute over cost of retirement programs

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman

    Negotiations to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” advanced at a glacial pace Wednesday, with a dispute over how to tackle the soaring cost of federal retirement programs emerging as the latest roadblock to progress.

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  • Holiday hysteria

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    If there is one redeeming feature of the otherwise gutless and indolent sequestration process, it is the underappreciated component of hysteria.

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  • The $4 trillion 'fiscal cliff' solution

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Eamon Javers discusses how President Obama hopes that a fiscal cliff solution can be reached before Christmas.

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  • U.S. weighs bolder effort to intervene in Syria’s conflict

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

    The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions.

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Nov 28, 2012

  • To strike fiscal deal, Obama turns to the public

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama isn’t anchored to a chair in the White House with House and Senate leaders, sweating out a budget deal before Dec. 31 -- not yet anyway. Instead, he’s spending the week meeting with business representatives and other stakeholders before flying Friday to a Pennsylvania toy factory for a photo op to champion middle-class tax breaks.

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