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!

Apr 08, 2013

  • Spring Break Is Over!

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    For the last few years politicians in Washington have been stuck in traffic—frustrated, honking, and nursing revenge fantasies. That will change next week when Congress returns from spring break. Immigration reform, gun control legislation, and a big budget deal are all on the agenda. Gridlock is going to turn into Cannonball Run—high-stakes, high-speed, and full of oddball characters taking the lead. There may be an extravagant pile-up, but the spring and summer offer a change from the cramped fussiness of going from one budget crisis to the next. If nothing else, the legislative process in Washington is going to get a lot more interesting.

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  • Vanishing Workforce Weighs on Growth

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    Put out an all-points bulletin: Millions of Americans have gone missing from the workforce.

    Every month that those would-be workers are gone raises the odds that they might never come back, dimming the prospects for future economic growth.

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  • Obama Must Walk Fine Line as Congress Takes Up Agenda

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    The days ahead could be decisive ones for the main pieces of President Obama’s second-term agenda: long-range deficit reduction, gun safety and changes to immigration law.

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  • Let's Talk GOP and Fantasy Politics

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Almost four years ago, long before the 2012 presidential campaign heated up, CNN took a poll to learn who Republicans might choose as their party's next nominee. There were two clear front-runners: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, limped in third.

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  • U.S. Designs a Korea Response Proportional to the Provocation

    By David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, The New York Times

    As North Korea hints at new military provocations in the coming days, the United States and South Korea have drawn up plans to respond more forcefully than in the recent past, but in a limited way intended to prevent an escalation to broader war.

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  • A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood

    By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.

    On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan’s army in the country’s western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.

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Apr 05, 2013

  • Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say.

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  • Party Intransigence Dims Hopes For 'Grand Bargain'

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The bipartisan cease-fire that kept the government running this spring gave birth to hopeful talk , among pundits and some senators, at least , of a much larger "grand bargain" that would reduce the federal deficit for years.

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  • Obama’s Voluntary 5% Pay Cut Joined by Lew, Kerry, Holder

    By Julianna Goldman & Phil Mattingly, Bloomberg News

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Attorney General Eric Holder today followed President Barack Obama’s decision to refuse a portion of his salary to show solidarity with furloughed government workers.

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  • The Man Who Could Put Climate Change on the Agenda

    By Coral Davenport, National Journal

    Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.”

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  • Will Health Care Be Sleeper Issue Of 2014?

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Washington is currently consumed with guns and immigration, but come 2014 it’s possible that health care will be the more all-consuming issue, and that has lots of Democrats very worried.

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  • Obama’s Remarks About California’s Attorney General Raise Eyebrows

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama headed out to California with a simple goal: to collect a few million dollars for Democrats. By the time Air Force One departed the state, however, he left behind a debate about whether he tripped over the line of political correctness.

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  • The Economics of Leaning In

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Sheryl Sandberg says the economy will benefit if more women rise to the top rungs. Is she right? David Wessel discusses.

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Apr 04, 2013

  • Amid Threats, N. Korea's Neighbors Rethink Defense Policies

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    North Korea has been a big headache for the United States, with the new leader there saying almost daily that his country is ready to go to war.

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  • U.S. Speeds Missile Defense to Guam After North Korea Bars South’s Workers

    By David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times

    The United States announced Wednesday that it was speeding the deployment of an advanced missile defense system to Guam in the next few weeks, two years ahead of schedule in what the Pentagon said was “a precautionary move” to protect American naval and air forces from the threat of a North Korean missile attack.

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  • Obama, in Colorado, Appeals for Compromise on Gun Control

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama appealed to Americans to set aside "the people who take absolute positions" on gun issues and "put ourselves in the other person’s shoes," as he appealed for compromise to revive flagging hopes for new gun control measures.

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  • Obama to Return Part of Salary With Budget Cuts in Effect

    By Julianna Goldman & Richard Rubin, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama’s decision to return 5 percent of his salary to the U.S. Treasury to show solidarity with furloughed government workers may step up pressure on top federal officials and lawmakers to follow suit.

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  • Chris Christie's Popularity With Women Voters Thwarts Female Opponent

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is big, brash, and, at times, a bully. He has rejected equal-pay bills and slashed Planned Parenthood funding. The gender gap is the obvious attack zone for his female Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono.

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Apr 03, 2013

  • In a Budget Gesture, Obama Will Return 5% of His Salary

    By Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

    President Obama plans to return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in solidarity with federal workers who are going to be furloughed as part of the budget cutting process known as sequester, an administration official said Wednesday.

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  • North Korea Blocks South Korean Workers From Entering Factory

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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