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 21, 2013

  • Pecking at News Crumbs as Obama Feeds Anchors

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Wednesday at the White House, and not for the first time, I felt like a seagull . . . a flighty, familiar, noisy pest, flapping around the president’s press briefing room, picking up news crumbs from Wichita, Oklahoma City and San Francisco.

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Feb 20, 2013

  • Alan Simpson Presses for Larger 'Grand Bargain'

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    The bipartisan leaders of a presidential deficit reduction commission, dismayed by the failure of the White House and Congress to reach a deal saving $4-trillion over 10 years, upped the ante today by pressing for an even larger "grand bargain."

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  • New Deficit Reduction Plan: Is it the Last Straw?

    WSJ's David Wessel explains the likelihood that a new deficit-reduction plan from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles will lead to a budget compromise in Washington.

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  • With Cutbacks Days Away, Obama Tries to Pressure G.O.P.

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery. But so far, Republicans were declining to engage.

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  • Can Obama and Rubio Be Immigration Frenemies?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    President Obama and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, arguably the two most important people in a potential immigration deal, aren’t exactly pals.

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  • Obama Can't Kick His Legacy Down the Road

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    So let's try to recount why we are where we are. In August 2011, Washington was trying to figure out how to raise the debt ceiling -- so the US might continue to pay its bills -- when a stunt was hatched: Kick the can down the road.

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Feb 19, 2013

  • Deficit Hawks Simpson and Bowles: Skirt the sequester

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congress must replace upcoming "dumb" across-the-board budget cuts with targeted spending cuts and sweeping changes to tackle the nation's debt without restricting economic growth, the former co-chairs of President Obama's debt commission say in a revamped bipartisan proposal for fiscal restraint.

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  • Government Slowly Changes Approach To Whistle-Blowers

    By Carrie Johnson, NPR

    The federal government once considered whistle-blowers a nuisance or worse. But over the past few years, that attitude has slowly started to change. More agencies have been reaching out for tips about fraud and abuse in and outside the government, even if digging through the stacks of complaints can present a challenge.

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  • Will Higher Taxes on the Rich Derail California’s Economic Comeback?

    By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

    If there’s anyplace in the country where rising tax rates should choke off an economic recovery, it’s California. On top of the federal tax hikes that kicked in last month, the state has just raised income taxes on its wealthiest residents to the highest levels in the nation, a move that conservatives warn will drive millionaires and their companies to other states, taking jobs and growth with them.

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  • Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.

    By David E. Sanger, David Barboza and Nicole Perloth. The New York Times

    On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

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  • Chinese Allegedly Tied to Cyber Attacks on US

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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  • Obama and Woods Meet for a Round of Golf

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    President Obama and Tiger Woods will both live a dream on Sunday: playing golf together for the first time.

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Feb 15, 2013

  • Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination - For Now

    By Susan Davis and David Jackson, USA Today

    Republicans delayed Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation Thursday for at least one week, citing concerns that senators have not had enough time to review his nomination.

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  • Obama Holds Forth in Google Chat, Rips Congress

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama blasted senators Thursday for orchestrating a filibuster to block the confirmation of his embattled Pentagon nominee, former Sen. Chuck Hagel. He accused lawmakers of being overtly political in continuing to demand documents about the attacks in Benghazi. And he said some members of Congress are motivated by re-election and won’t tackle climate change.

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  • Can Marco Rubio Live Up to the Hype?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    The freshman senator from Florida had joined four veteran colleagues to unveil a proposal for the first major overhaul of immigration law in a quarter-century. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced “my friend, Senator [Marco] Rubio, who obviously is a new but incredibly important voice in this whole issue of immigration reform.”

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  • Senate Democrats Propose Cuts, Tax Hikes on Rich to Avoid Sequester

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    With another fiscal deadline just two weeks away, Senate Democrats on Thursday announced a plan to protect the Pentagon and other federal agencies from deep, automatic spending cuts in part by raising taxes on millionaires.

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  • Four Key Questions for Health-Care Law

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Thanks to the Supreme Court and Barack Obama's re-election, the Affordable Care Act—"Obamacare" to foes and a few of its friends—isn't going away. The issue now is how it will work.

    Even by Washington standards, implementing this law is extraordinarily complex. The federal government last year issued 70,000 pages of guidance, including 130 pages on the look of websites for new marketplaces where many will shop for insurance.

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Feb 14, 2013

  • What Mitt Romney Can Teach Marco Rubio

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    What's worse for your political ambitions, being labeled a wimp by Newsweek or a savior by Time? Marco Rubio, the freshman senator from Florida, has been stuck with the savior label and it has several disadvantages. It makes allies suspicious, irritates your rivals, and perhaps worst of all: When you're a savior, people expect you to perform miracles.

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  • Questions Linger After Obama's Speech

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    When President Obama’s hour-long State of the Union address was over Tuesday night, three basic questions lingered surrounding his list of incentives and partnerships and “we can get this done!” admonitions.

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  • Another Day, Another GOP Attempt to Rebrand the Party

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Just what the world needs: another super PAC?

    NewRepublican.org is the brainchild of GOP consultant and CNN pundit Alex Castellanos, whose clients have included Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush. Castellanos is joining a growing cottage industry of Republicans who are trying to rebrand and rebuild the party as President Obama begins his second term. He points to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as role models,

    “If you are tired of the old, slow, dumb, top-down Washington way of doing things, you are thinking like a new Republican,” Castellanos said, describing his new initiative as a “super PAC marries a think tank.”

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