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!

Mar 01, 2013

  • For Obama and Congress, It's Zero Hour

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Tick, tick, tick . . .

    Friday is the end of the hourglass for President Obama and congressional leaders. They will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss an impasse that has bedeviled them since January, trying -- for the cameras, at least -- to find a way “to reduce our deficit in a balanced way,” as Obama put it Thursday.

    Read more
  • Cuts Roll In as Time Runs Out

    By Janet Hook and Damian Paletta, Wall Street Journal

    The federal government enters a controversial new phase of deficit cutting Friday, as an automatic trigger begins slicing budgets in some areas while leaving programs such as Medicare and Medicaid—among the largest drivers of future debt—largely untouched.

    Read more
  • Obama Meets Congressional Leaders on Sequester

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

    Congressional leaders gathered at the White House on Friday to meet with President Obama on ways to avoid the steep budget cuts known as the sequester, but expectations for the meeting were low.

    Read more
  • Meet the Man Behind the Conservative Political Action Conference

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Al Cardenas is a “big tent” Republican: The first Hispanic chairman of the American Conservative Union. A strong proponent of minority outreach and immigration reform. A whistle-blower on conservatives who attack their compatriots.

    “We are at war with liberals and moderates, but it now seems we have added fellow conservatives as the enemy,” he wrote in Human Events one week ago. “If we go down this road, we will destroy our ability to succeed.”

    Read more
  • Can Governors Be The Cure For What Ails Politics?

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Watching the current state of dysfunction in D.C. these days, it's easy to romanticize the seemingly functional role played by the nation’s Governors.

    Washington is about process. State Capitols are about progress.

    Read more

Feb 28, 2013

  • Analysis: In voting-rights case, liberal justices pitch to Kennedy

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Barely a minute into a U.S. Supreme Court hearing, liberal justices began a strategic barrage of questions that came down to this: Why should a time-honored plank of the 1965 Voting Rights Act be invalidated in a case from Alabama with its history of racial discrimination?

    Read more
  • Sequester Spin Gets Ahead of Reality

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The descriptions of the post-sequester landscape coming from the Obama administration have been alarming, specific — and, in at least some cases, hyped.

    Read more
  • Scenarios for Future of 'Big Finance'

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Watch more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • Eric Holder Says Sequester Makes America Less Safe

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    Watch more

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more