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 28, 2013

  • Republican Losses Obscure US Drift to Right

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republican angst over presidential election losses obscures the fact that many conservative ideals have prospered for decades.

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  • Bloomberg Goes to Washington to Push Gun Laws, but Senate Has Other Ideas

    By Jackie Calmes and Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York met separately on Wednesday with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and several senators, a day after his campaign for tougher gun laws was newly fortified by the victory of his preferred candidate in a special Congressional primary election in Chicago where he had spent more than $2 million.

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  • Eric Holder Says Sequester Makes America Less Safe

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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Feb 27, 2013

  • Sequester Will Sock a Vulnerable Economy

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    The U.S. economy won’t collapse when the automatic spending cuts start hitting after Friday’s deadline. A few economists even say the sequester and its indiscriminate whack at the budget could eventually help the economy grow faster than it would have otherwise.

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  • New Spate of Acrimony in Congress as Cuts Loom

    By Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas, Wall Street Journal

    With deep federal spending cuts poised to begin Friday, Congress engaged in a new round of finger-pointing, intraparty bickering and frustration on Tuesday, at one point prompting top party leaders to hurl vulgarities at each other.

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  • Defense Hawks Seek Alternatives to 'Bad' Sequester

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republicans are intensifying their efforts to protect the Defense Department from $42.7 billion in budget cuts this year that kick in Friday.

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  • Republican Congressman Faces Tea Party Wrath for Flying Air Force One

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    In just over two years in Congress, Republican Scott Rigell of Virginia has piqued conservatives by voting to raise the debt ceiling, disavowing an anti-tax pledge, and partnering with Democrats on gun control legislation. He was one of only two Republicans last year to oppose holding Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt.

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  • Sanctions Bite, But Iran Shows No Signs Of Budging

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    A new round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program is under way in Kazakhstan, where the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are asking Iran to give up any thought of building a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from sanctions.

    Western leaders do not predict a breakthrough, but they say small steps could be taken that would increase confidence on both sides.

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Feb 26, 2013

  • White House expands list of woes budget ax could cause

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    Planes delayed. Teachers laid off. And, now, more illegal immigrants slipping past the Border Patrol.

    The White House on Monday added to its list of dire consequences it says would come from automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to start Friday, part of a campaign to ignite a public outcry.

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  • Why Republican Governors Hate the Republican Congress

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    A bunch of Republican governors have been in Washington the past few days for the National Governors Association meeting, just in time to chew out their fellow Republicans in Congress over the upcoming sequestration cuts.

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  • Obama Administration Reaches Out to Local Governments to Spread Its Climate Message

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    President Obama used his Inaugural Address and State of the Union speech to issue the boldest, clearest call to action on climate change ever voiced by a sitting U.S. president—but don’t expect him to barnstorm across the country with that message.

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  • The Stupid Sequester -- And You

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Tired of the sequester yet?

    The automatic cuts to federal spending don’t start until Friday, and even then their effects will only be gradual. But Washington is already in a frenzy over a crisis that the two parties have brought on themselves with a scheme that was -- as I noted in my Sunday column -- designed to be stupid.

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Feb 25, 2013

  • Sequester: 'Collateral damage' of budget war may be huge

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Coming soon, the lines at airport security might get longer, the hours of service at Head Start centers might get shorter and the FBI might have fewer agents tracking down bad guys.

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  • The Simple Sequestration Rule

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    We are headed into the peak week of sequestration insanity. The across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are set to take effect on March 1. Here's a simple rule for getting through the next few days: If you're talking about sequestration, you're doing it wrong. Sequestration was created to focus minds on the Big Thing. So if you’re talking obsessively about the sequestration, it means you aren’t thinking about the thing that you were supposed to be focused on.

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  • Justices poised to query voting rights focus on South

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    When the Supreme Court last scrutinized the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2009, Justice Anthony Kennedy peered down from the bench and asked why federal rules were tougher for Alabama and Georgia than for Michigan and Ohio.

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  • The GOP's Uncomfortable Debate Over Gay Marriage

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    As Republicans rebound from the 2012 election and plot their future, an uncomfortable debate over gay rights is taking place.

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  • Cyber Attacks: The Under-reported Threat?

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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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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