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 27, 2013

  • Parties Scramble to Come to Terms With Opinion Shift on Same-Sex Marriage

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    If justices on the Supreme Court sounded cautious and tentative as they addressed the issue of same-sex marriage Tuesday, it’s little wonder. Like everyone else in public life, they are operating in the middle of a political whirlwind.

    The political and legal systems are caught between past and future. Public opinion has shifted rapidly, and a majority of Americans now back legalizing same-sex marriage. Among those younger than 40, support is overwhelming. The question is when and in what form the future arrives.

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  • Analysis: Supreme Court Seems Poised to Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Tide

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    For nearly four years, proponents of same-sex marriage have been strategically building a test case aimed at convincing the conservative-leaning Supreme Court to declare that gay marriage is a constitutional right. The advocates felt they were ready.

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  • High Court Hears Federal Marriage Law

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Big Labor and Big Business Have One Big Issue: Immigration Reform

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    Immigration reform has become the No. 1 policy priority at the AFL-CIO, a remarkable shift for the labor group that has in the past spent more effort trying to pass a health care law or destroying a proposal to privatize Social Security.

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  • Napolitano Expects Fees to Cover Immigration Reforms

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    At some point this spring, backers of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate are expected to unveil a bill and then defend it against conservative criticisms that millions of undocumented workers who want citizenship will eventually strain the nation’s budget.

    On Tuesday, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the costs of some of the key reforms backed by the administration would not be borne by taxpayers, but by the immigrants who opt to pursue any new pathway to citizenship enacted into law.

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  • First Woman Is Chosen to Lead Secret Service

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday appointed Julia A. Pierson, a longtime Secret Service agent, as the first woman to head the agency best known for protecting the president, vice president and their families.

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  • North Korea Enhances Nuclear Threats in Propaganda Video

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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Mar 26, 2013

  • Factbox: Major Supreme Court decisions on gay rights

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    The two gay marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this week begin a new chapter in its review of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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  • Same-sex Marriage Takes Center Stage at SCOTUS

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Now in Defense of Gay Marriage, Bill Clinton

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    He had just flown across the country after an exhausting campaign day in Oregon and South Dakota, landing at the White House after dark. But President Bill Clinton still had more business before bed. He picked up a pen and scrawled out his name, turning a bill into law.

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  • Obama Expects April Senate Debate on Immigration

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    With an eye on the calendar while lawmakers are out of town for two weeks, President Obama on Monday used a White House ceremony welcoming 28 new U.S. citizens as a backdrop to urge Congress to take up immigration reform legislation next month.

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  • Rand vs. Rubio

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    The fascination with Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio is understandable. Both are young and ambitious Republicans in a party looking for its next leader. They are charismatic risk-takers who can talk to the media beyond just Fox News. Also alliteration may be destiny. Headline writers cannot resist writing Rand and Rubio combination. (See examples, here, here, here, here, and above.) Both men are also considering running for president.

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Mar 25, 2013

  • Gay marriage fight goes to the Supreme Court

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Senate Passes First Budget in Four Years

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    The Democrat-controlled Senate approved its first budget blueprint in four years early Saturday, a political milestone that capped months of GOP criticism and set the stage for direct negotiations with the Republican-controlled House.

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  • 'Sequester' Causing Pain -- to Congress

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Think the automatic budget cuts Congress ordered at the beginning of March — the so-called sequester — haven't caused any pain yet?

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  • Obamacare Is a Prescription for a Democratic Headache in 2014

    By Beth Reinhard and Alex Roarty, National Journal

    President Obama’s health care law—a killer issue in 2010 but an afterthought among voters in 2012—will face another round of attacks in 2014 as its thorniest parts go into effect, potentially supplying Republicans fresh ammunition in their war against "Obamacare" and creating renewed problems for a plethora of vulnerable Democrats.

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  • U.S. and Afghans Reach Deal on Bagram Prison Transfer

    By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    After months of delays and recriminations by American and Afghan officials, the Pentagon announced Saturday that a deal had been reached to transfer control of Bagram Prison to the Afghan government.

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  • Martha Raddatz Answers ‘This Week’ Viewer Questions

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    1) Travis Stinger Williams: You are awesome! Do you recognize your own awesomeness?

    Raddatz: “I do not consider myself remotely awesome! But my job at ABC News is pretty awesome and so are the people I meet and the places I travel. One of the things I don’t do at home is talk a lot about myself or what I do. Even though my kids are both grown now, I would much rather hear about what they are doing than what I have done. It helps keep me grounded. I suspect you would find me pretty down-to-earth despite all the trappings of TV career! But, your ‘awesome’ comments will secretly make my day! So thanks!”

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Mar 22, 2013

  • Republicans Today Can Learn Lessons From the Democrats’ Past. But Will They?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus deserves credit for launching a reclamation project for his beleaguered party.

    The report by the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project lays bare the depth of the problems of a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and that is on the wrong side of the demographic forces that are changing the country.

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  • How Not to Woo Republicans

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    To woo your enemy, do not drop an ox in his soup. That isn’t an ancient maxim, but the idea behind it is so self-evident, I don't need to find Sun Tzu’s version to know it’s true. When you are trying to build trust with someone who does not trust you, don't give them new reasons not to trust you.

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