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!

Feb 22, 2013

  • Counting Down to the Sequester

    With John Harwood, CNBC and The New York Times

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  • Will the Border Ever Be Secure Enough for Immigration Hawks?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Border security could be the issue that kills immigration reform. And yet, by most measures, the U.S.-Mexico border has never been safer.
    The bipartisan group of U.S. senators seeking comprehensive immigration reform have proposed a "trigger" mechanism, whereby a path to citizenship would be contingent on increased border security. President Obama and liberals have not endorsed the idea, although the president is "committed to increasing our border security further," according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

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  • Florida Governor's Embrace of Medicaid Money Undercuts GOP Attacks on 'Obamacare'

    By Beth Reinhard and Margot Sanger-Katz, National Journal

    Bashing “Obamacare” just isn’t what it used to be.

    Just over two years ago, the rallying cry against President Obama’s health care overhaul unified Republicans and hoisted the party to historic electoral gains in state capitals and in Washington.

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  • For Obama and Team, Calm, Not Crisis, in Latest Fiscal Battle

    By Jeff Zeleny and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

    President Obama is just seven days away from the first significant test of his second term as deep spending cuts loom, yet inside the White House a clear sense of confidence stands in contrast to the air of crisis that surrounded previous fiscal showdowns with Republicans.

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  • Presidents’ Day with TIME’s Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

    With Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, TIME

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Feb 21, 2013

  • White House Tactic for C.I.A. Bid Holds Back Drone Memos

    By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, The New York Times

    The White House is refusing to share fully with Congress the legal opinions that justify targeted killings, while maneuvering to make sure its stance does not do anything to endanger the confirmation of John O. Brennan as C.I.A. director.

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  • White House adopts new strategy to safeguard intellectual property

    By Christi Parsons and Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times

    Amid growing evidence that China and other countries are stealing U.S. trade secrets and technology through cyber attacks, the White House announced what it billed as a new strategy Wednesday to protect intellectual property.

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  • Trade Secret Protection Plan

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • A More Perfect Poll

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    In the 2012 presidential election, we all thought we were smarter than the pollsters. Conservatives flocked to a site called, whose proprietor reconstituted the polls of major media organizations in proportions better suited to his vision of the American electorate—that is, one with more Republicans in it. Liberals, for their part, elevated to demigod status the statistician and New York Times blogger Nate Silver, who poured those same polls into a meat grinder and produced a neatly encased pronouncement that Barack Obama was overwhelmingly likely to win.

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  • Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to fraud

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Fed Uneasy About Fueling Credit Bubble

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

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  • Pecking at News Crumbs as Obama Feeds Anchors

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Wednesday at the White House, and not for the first time, I felt like a seagull . . . a flighty, familiar, noisy pest, flapping around the president’s press briefing room, picking up news crumbs from Wichita, Oklahoma City and San Francisco.

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Feb 20, 2013

  • Alan Simpson Presses for Larger 'Grand Bargain'

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    The bipartisan leaders of a presidential deficit reduction commission, dismayed by the failure of the White House and Congress to reach a deal saving $4-trillion over 10 years, upped the ante today by pressing for an even larger "grand bargain."

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  • New Deficit Reduction Plan: Is it the Last Straw?

    WSJ's David Wessel explains the likelihood that a new deficit-reduction plan from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles will lead to a budget compromise in Washington.

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  • With Cutbacks Days Away, Obama Tries to Pressure G.O.P.

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery. But so far, Republicans were declining to engage.

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  • Can Obama and Rubio Be Immigration Frenemies?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    President Obama and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, arguably the two most important people in a potential immigration deal, aren’t exactly pals.

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  • Obama Can't Kick His Legacy Down the Road

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    So let's try to recount why we are where we are. In August 2011, Washington was trying to figure out how to raise the debt ceiling -- so the US might continue to pay its bills -- when a stunt was hatched: Kick the can down the road.

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Feb 19, 2013

  • Deficit Hawks Simpson and Bowles: Skirt the sequester

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congress must replace upcoming "dumb" across-the-board budget cuts with targeted spending cuts and sweeping changes to tackle the nation's debt without restricting economic growth, the former co-chairs of President Obama's debt commission say in a revamped bipartisan proposal for fiscal restraint.

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  • Government Slowly Changes Approach To Whistle-Blowers

    By Carrie Johnson, NPR

    The federal government once considered whistle-blowers a nuisance or worse. But over the past few years, that attitude has slowly started to change. More agencies have been reaching out for tips about fraud and abuse in and outside the government, even if digging through the stacks of complaints can present a challenge.

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  • Will Higher Taxes on the Rich Derail California’s Economic Comeback?

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    If there’s anyplace in the country where rising tax rates should choke off an economic recovery, it’s California. On top of the federal tax hikes that kicked in last month, the state has just raised income taxes on its wealthiest residents to the highest levels in the nation, a move that conservatives warn will drive millionaires and their companies to other states, taking jobs and growth with them.

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