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 28, 2012

  • 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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Dec 21, 2012

  • Boehner Pins Responsibility for Avoiding ‘Fiscal Cliff’ on Obama, Democrats

    By Lori Montgomery and Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to shift responsibility Friday to President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate to reach an agreement to avert a series of spending cuts and tax hikes after his fellow Republicans delivered a stunning rebuke to Boehner’s own plan to raise taxes on those making more than $1 million.

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  • Next Move Is Obama’s After Boehner’s Tax Plan Fails

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    With House Republicans’ revolt over their leader’s tax plan the evening before, President Obama on Friday faced the challenge of finding a new tax-and-spending solution — perhaps working now with Senate Republicans — to prevent a looming fiscal crisis in January.

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  • Obama Names Kerry as Nominee to Replace Clinton at State

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg

    President Barack Obama named Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as his choice to become the next U.S. secretary of state, saying he has the respect and trust of leaders around the world.

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  • NRA's Wayne LaPierre Calls for Armed Security at Every School

  • NRA Offers Free Advice on Arming Schools

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    It was called a press conference, but it was really a dog-and-pony show. Or rather, a dog-and-ID show. Reporters were required to show ID twice before checking in to a crowded ballroom in a downtown Washington, D.C., hotel, where they had already pre-registered, while sniffer dogs roamed between their legs.

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  • Obama Asks Supporters to Push Congress on Gun Control

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama sought on Friday to enlist supporters to mount a public lobbying campaign on behalf of gun control in the wake of the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., suggesting that Congress would listen only if forced to by a populist backlash to gun violence.

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