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 04, 2013

  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more

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.

    Read more
  • North Korea Blocks South Korean Workers From Entering Factory

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Watch more
  • Gun control, DOA

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama pleaded with Congress last week to remember the victims of December's schoolhouse shootings in Connecticut and tighten the nation's gun laws. "Shame on us if we've forgotten," he said. "Don't get squishy."

    Read more
  • Once Again, the NRA Is Winning the Gun-Control Debate

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    The National Rifle Association and gun-control advocates held dueling news conferences Tuesday at the National Press Club, where both sides were in agreement on one thing: Right now, it doesn’t look like Congress will pass any sweeping gun-control legislation.

    Read more
  • Let the Race Begin!

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Hillary Clinton takes the stage tonight for the first time since leaving the State Department. The talk about her running for president in 2016 has swelled ever since. The combination of Clinton's stature, the stretch of time between now and the first caucus, and the media's undifferentiated love for presidential campaigns is going to create a vast bloom of speculation. We should call in the meteorologists, because by 2014 you're going to be able to spot it on Doppler radar.

    Read more
  • Clinton Speaks Up for Women’s Issues

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Hillary Rodham Clinton made her public debut in her new role as prospective presidential candidate on Tuesday night by returning to the issue that has animated her long career on the national stage — the empowerment of women around the globe.

    Read more
  • Hillary Clinton's Small Steps Fuel Big Hopes Among Fans Eyeing the 2016 Presidential Race

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Hillary Rodham Clinton stayed on safe political ground Tuesday, advocating women's rights globally in a 12-minute speech, but that was enough to excite fans imploring the former first lady, senator and secretary of state to run again for president three years from now.

    Read more

Apr 02, 2013

  • US General in North Korea: 'We'll Defend Ourselves'

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Martha Raddatz talks exclusively with General Thurman on the North Korean border.

    Watch more
  • OMB to Furlough 480 Staffers

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The staff and the many offices that support President Obama at the White House are feeling the bite of across-the-board spending cuts, his spokespeople confirmed Monday.

    Read more
  • Boehner, LIke Past Speakers, Sometimes Needs Democrats

    By Susan Davis and Gregory Korte, USA Today

    Speaker John Boehner has come under fire in recent months for breaking an unwritten, often-cited GOP axiom that legislation in the U.S. House should pass only with support of a majority of the ruling party.

    Read more
  • Democrats Spy Opportunities in Ruby-Red South Carolina

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Two nationally known but weakened Republicans are raising Democratic hopes in the ruby-red Republican stronghold of South Carolina.

    Read more
  • SC's Graham Shows Limits of Tea Party Intimidation

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    To gauge the limits of the tea party's ability to frighten re-election-seeking Republicans into a rightward panic, spend time with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

    Read more

Apr 01, 2013

  • 3 Ways Work Visas Could Still Blow Up the Immigration Bill

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    Let’s start with the positive viewpoint. Big labor (i.e., the AFL-CIO) has agreed, for the first time in its history, to accept a new foreign-worker program for low-skilled jobs such as in construction, food service, and janitorial work—in many ways the mainstay of union membership. The new foreign-worker program is considered an essential component of an immigration bill by business groups and Republicans. Without it, there is no immigration reform, as Republicans made plain last week when they went home for a spring break without a deal in place on "future flow."

    Read more
  • McManus: SCOTUS-induced chaos on gay marriage?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    If the Supreme Court decides the two gay marriage cases it heard last week the way most court watchers believe it will, expect legal and political chaos. The court seems ready to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while ruling quite narrowly on California's Proposition 8, allowing a lower-court decision to stand. Such an outcome would make gay marriage legal in California without deciding whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional.

    Read more
  • Can governors save the GOP?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    The Republican National Committee task force report painted a stark portrait of a party divided between its struggling federal wing and its thriving gubernatorial wing. The GOP’s path to rehabilitation may indeed run through the states, but some of the report’s assertions about the governors’ successes are questionable at best.

    Read more
  • Bloomberg Backlash

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Is Michael Bloomberg helping or hurting his cause? When the New York mayor’s organization, Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, launched its $12 million advertising campaign to pressure lawmakers into supporting gun control legislation, the negative reaction from the NRA was predictable, but a week after the launch, the reaction from potential allies has also been cool. Senators and staffers working on bipartisan legislation say that Bloomberg’s effort to mobilize voters is less effective because it is also energizing gun control opponents. It’s pressuring lawmakers in the wrong way, too. Any legislator targeted by Bloomberg’s campaign who ultimately supports gun control legislation will look like he or she is being bowled over by a nanny-state mayor who wants to tell their constituents how to live their lives.

    Read more
  • Senate Democrats Are Betting on Family Dynasties to Win Red States

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    She is the daughter of a civil-rights-championing former mayor of New Orleans and the sister of the city’s popular current executive. He is the son of a former senator and governor known for advocating for the rights of taxpayers and the elderly. Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas are two of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2014, but the deep roots of their families in their home states could serve as bulwarks in a Republican-friendly midterm. Carpetbaggers, beware.

    Read more