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!

Jul 18, 2013

  • Moscow Trip for Obama May Be Off as Snowden Tensions Build

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama may cancel a scheduled trip to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin in September as the standoff over the fate of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor seeking asylum there, takes its toll on already strained relations between the United States and Russia, officials said Thursday.

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  • Health Law: Obama’s Sales Pitch Has Failed, So Far

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    More than three years after it managed to get its Affordable Care Act through Congress, the White House seems to have realized that it has done a lousy job selling it.

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  • Senate Group Reaches Tentative Deal on Student Loans

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    A bipartisan coalition of senators has reached a tentative deal over student loans, Senate aides told ABC News, a move that could avert a major rate increase when students start classes next month.

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  • Key Players in Immigration Debate Step Back

    By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times

    Sen. Marco Rubio played a crucial role in orchestrating passage of the bipartisan immigration overhaul in the Senate last month, but the Florida Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender has bowed out of the messy battle as it moves to the House.

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  • What Missile Shipment Says About Cuba-North Korea Relations

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    Many questions are raised by the discovery of missile parts in a North Korean ship coming from Cuba and passing through the Panama Canal. Cuban authorities acknowledge sending the parts, but they do not explain why they are doing business with North Korea. The incident sheds some light on two of the most isolated regimes on the planet and what political and commercial ties may bind them.

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Jul 17, 2013

  • Analysis: Senate Embraces Deals that Elude House

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    It wasn't elegant. But when senators averted a partisan explosion over filibuster rules, they proved the Senate still embraces at least a smidgen of two-party cooperation.

    Increasingly, that distances the Senate from the House, even if the Capitol Rotunda is about all that separates them physically.

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  • Florida Case Prompts Massive Responses To Race Card Project

    Renee Montagne and Michele Norris, NPR

    For the last three years, NPR's Michele Norris has asked people to share their six-word stories about race and cultural identity. The confrontation in Sanford, Fla., has been a running thread in the inbox of the Race Card Project since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in 2012.

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  • The Politics of the Zimmerman Verdict

    With Gloria Borger, CNN

    CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger analyzes the politics of the Zimmerman verdict , effects on the White House.

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  • Key Republican Senators Back Plan to Address Military Sex Assaults

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    A proposal to establish an aggressive new system to prosecute sex cases in the military has picked up two key Republican backers as proponents continue seeking enough support to force a vote on the plan in the coming weeks.

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  • The Immigration Fight Is the Battle for the Soul of the GOP

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Imagine a policy proposal that has the support of the Republican National Committee, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Karl Rove, John McCain, and George W. Bush. The Chamber of Commerce backs it, as do major Catholic and evangelical groups. Right-wing think tanks like the Cato Institute, major GOP donors, Rupert Murdoch, Grover Norquist, Haley Barbour -- they all want it, and it is broadly popular with voters.

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  • Mitch McConnell's 20 Consultants

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    Lest anyone feared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wasn't taking his re-election bid seriously, his latest campaign finance report shows he's fully staffed up. In fact, McConnell looks like he's making his own personal effort to reduce the unemployment rate among political consultants.

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Jul 16, 2013

  • Senate Reaches Tentative Deal to Avert Filibuster Showdown

    By Ed O'Keefe and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    Senators reached a tentative deal Tuesday on averting a constitutional showdown over confirming President Obama’s agency nominations and promptly moved ahead on one of them, clearing the way for a final vote on Obama’s choice to head the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.

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  • Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Back Plan to Address Military Sex Assaults

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Two high-profile conservative Republican senators are joining a push to remove the military chain of command from considering allegations of sexual assault in the ranks.

    Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Tuesday are formally signing on to a plan by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would establish a new system to prosecute sex assault cases in the military, according to several aides familiar with their plans.

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  • In Second Term, Obama Is Seen as Using ‘Hidden Hand’ Approach

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    In the nearly two weeks since Egypt’s military seized power, President Obama has promoted a better federal bureaucracy, given a medal to George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame and had former President George Bush to the White House for lunch. What he has not done is publicly address the violent upheaval in Cairo.

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  • Obama Takes Immigration Case to Latino TV

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama, dubbed the "outside cheerleader" by Senate Republicans who hope Congress can pass immigration reform this year, will try to reassure Latinos today that he is working intensively to get reluctant House Republicans to budge.

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  • Seib & Wessel: Tackling ‘Too Big to Fail’ Banks

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    WSJ’s Deborah Solomon explains how U.S. regulators are trying to lick the “too big to fail” problem by making it more costly for banks to stay big -- as Republicans and Democrats in Congress eye even more steps

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Jul 15, 2013

  • George Zimmerman Civil Suit Could Be Next

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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  • Get a Room

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    When the bipartisan machine breaks down, it collapses in ways that can be seen and unseen. The saga of the farm bill gives us examples of both. For the last 40 years, the bill has passed through an unofficial agreement between urban liberals and rural conservatives. The former got funding for food stamps and the latter got farm subsidies. Yesterday, the farm bill passed the House without this deal in place. For the first time since the 1970s, the bill did not include funding for food stamps. No Democrats voted for it. The jalopy of bipartisanship has been going through a prolonged collapse. Still, it's notable when the usual death rattle is augmented by a convulsion that throws off a wheel.

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  • By Changing Tactics, Antiabortion Movement Seizes Momentum

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Abortion opponents have turned to different tactics since the Supreme Court legalized most abortions half a century ago, from imposing 24-hour waiting periods to banning late-term procedures to requiring minors to get permission.

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  • Filibusters, Food Stamps and the Congressional Week to Come

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Senate leaders have sparred repeatedly in recent weeks — and Sunday on “Meet the Press” — over a threatened change to the rules in the U.S. Senate. The latest verbal spat between Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended with Reid announcing plans to use a party-line vote to change the Senate’s rules so that Executive Branch nominees can be confirmed by a simple majority.

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