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 15, 2013

  • No Quick Impact in U.S. Arms Plan for Syria Rebels

    By Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, and Erin Banco, The New York Times

    A month ago Obama administration officials promised to deliver arms and ammunition to the Syrian rebels in the hope of reversing the tide of a war that had turned against an embattled opposition.

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  • What If Bernanke Could Be Blunt

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Ben Bernanke has caused a bit of a stir in the markets for talking so much in the past few weeks. He’ll be at it again this week, testifying in the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.

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Jul 12, 2013

  • First Take: Immigration was key in Napolitano's tenure

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    When trying to size up the four-year tenure of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, look no further than a February hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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  • Senators Squabble Over Reid's Threat to Limit Debate

    Susan Davis, USA Today

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set the U.S. Senate on a potentially chamber-altering course for next week, pledging to use his power to change Senate rules to push through President Obama's executive branch nominations despite furious opposition from Republicans.

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  • Abortion Politics: Winning the Middle

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    In state legislatures across the country, the battle over abortion rights is raging once again.

    But what neither side of the abortion debate seems to want to acknowledge is that there is a middle ground on the issue. The problem for both of them: The middle is where you can find the vast majority of Americans, who see the abortion issue not as a battle, but as a balance.

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  • In Congress All Politics Getting Personal

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Farm Bill Passes Narrowly in House, Without Food Stamp Funding

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    If Congress fails to reach agreement on food stamps, funding will be worked out as part of the normal appropriations process and will probably remain at current levels.

    The trimmed-down farm bill pleased rural Republicans, including Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman (Ind.), a fourth-generation farmer, who called the farm-only focus “a positive thing, to make sure that we have good government and good policy and that agriculture is going to be getting the attention it deserves rather than being leveraged by a welfare program.”

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  • What the Farm Bill Says About House GOP

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The House passed a farm bill. The Senate passed an immigration bill. One might think this is a sign of a summertime thaw in the frozen gears of Congress.

    Think again.

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  • Key GOP House Chairman Open to Citizenship Path

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has long said that the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants should never get a "special" pathway to citizenship. Now, for the first time, he is saying they could get some path.

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  • Running to Stand Still

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    It is a hamster wheel-like existence we are living in D.C. these days. There’s a whole lot of activity, and yet, we’re not going anywhere at all.

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Jul 11, 2013

  • WH: Obama Alone Can't Sway House on Reform

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama may have exhausted his capacity to nudge immigration reform toward enactment this year.

    "They either are for immigration reform or they're not," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, speaking of the House GOP majority. "That'll be a choice they make."

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  • Obama and Bush Promote Benefits of Immigration

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama and former President George W. Bush found themselves on the same side of a public policy debate on Wednesday as they promoted the virtues of immigration at a time when Congress is considering rewriting the rules to accept millions here illegally.

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  • Bush’s Call for GOP to Embrace Immigration Reform Seems to Have Little Effect

    By David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    Former president George W. Bush, who enjoyed healthy support among Latinos during his time in office, has broken a virtual five-year silence in national politics by calling on fellow Republicans to embrace immigration reform at a time when conservatives are rebelling against the idea.

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  • No Easy Road Ahead on Immigration in GOP House

    By Alan Gomez and Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republicans dug in their opposition to the Senate-passed immigration overhaul at a closed-door meeting Wednesday where lawmakers began mapping out a slower, piecemeal approach to immigration and border security legislation.

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  • Four decades after Roe v. Wade, views of most Americans still complex, conditional

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The absolutist voices have always dominated the abortion debate. But as it flares again in Congress and in legislatures across the country, the fight this time is heading into complicated political terrain, stirring the ambivalence that most Americans feel about the issue.

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  • A Decade After McCain-Feingold, Election Spending Spikes

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    A decade after Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold spearheaded sweeping campaign finance reform legislation, a series of judicial and legislative setbacks have derailed any hopes its original sponsors had of curbing the influence and amount of money spent on politics.

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Jul 10, 2013

  • GOP Grapples with Border Security in Immigration Bill

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Republicans in the House of Representatives say any immigration bill they pass must ensure that the nation's Southwest border with Mexico is secured before any process can begin for undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship.

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  • The Immigration Impasse

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    On Tuesday, William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, wrote a rare joint editorial denouncing the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform plan. They said it was full of loopholes and exceptions that would do nothing to end illegal immigration. Republican Senators had signed on to the bill fueled by a "panic" about attracting Hispanic voters. House Republicans, they argued, should not only refuse to vote on the Senate bill, they should refuse to join a conference committee where their version could be melded with the impure Senate’s product. Republicans should shelve immigration reform until after the 2014 election, they argued. What's the rush?

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  • GOP Redistricting Skills May Hurt Immigration Push

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republicans' knack for congressional redistricting helps them control the U.S. House, but it may be working against them on immigration changes that national GOP leaders see as critical to the next presidential election.

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  • Senate Poised to Fail -- Again -- on a Student Loan Fix

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Senate will vote Wednesday on a Democratic plan to scale back federally subsidized student loan rates, which doubled on July 1, but the proposal lacks enough support required to pass, leaving a divided Congress no closer to compromise.

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