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 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

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • Cyber Attacks: The Under-reported Threat?

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Watch more

Feb 22, 2013

  • Counting Down to the Sequester

    With John Harwood, CNBC and The New York Times

    Watch more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

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

    With Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, TIME

    Watch more

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • Trade Secret Protection Plan

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

    Watch more
  • 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 UnskewedPolls.com, 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.

    Read more
  • Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty to fraud

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch more
  • Fed Uneasy About Fueling Credit Bubble

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Watch more