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!

Aug 05, 2013

  • US Downgrade Marks 2nd Anniversary

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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  • Sen. McConnell Already in Hot 2014 Re-election Race

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stood before cheering and jeering Kentuckians at the annual St. Jerome Catholic Church picnic on Saturday and made his re-election pitch in consequential terms.

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  • Why Republicans Can’t Relax

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then House Republicans might look potty. On Friday, the House voted for the 40th time to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Though each week presents new reasons to not like the bill—premiums up 40 percent in Ohio—the votes are as pointless as ever because the legislation isn’t going anywhere. But this isn't as insane as it looks because the goal isn’t repealing the legislation. The vote is entirely symbolic. The conservative base likes it and we are heading into a non-presidential-election year where the base is important. (Sen. Mike Lee is raising money from his effort to kill the bill.)

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  • Is the GOP self-destructing?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    We've all grown used to a Congress locked in bitter warfare between two parties, producing gridlock on federal spending and other pressing issues. But the Congress that left Washington last week hit a new high in another category: gridlock among Republicans.

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Aug 02, 2013

  • Threat Closes U.S. Embassies in Muslim World

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    State department responds to "a concerted effort against a U.S. Embassy or Consulate."

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  • The ‘Straight Talk Express’ is back: McCain on his Fears About the Future of the GOP

    With Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

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  • House Passes ‘Stop Government Abuse Act’

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    House lawmakers voted Thursday to place significant limits on the pay and rights of employees of the U.S. government in response to the actions of senior officials at several federal agencies in recent years.

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  • Republican Military Hawks Stand Their Ground

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Coming to political theater near you: The Republican establishment targets rebel forces battling for libertarianism and isolationism in a twist on the George Lucas classic, The Empire Strikes Back.

    The neoconservatives who have dominated the GOP since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are increasingly pushing back after an insurgency against government spying and foreign intervention led by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The backlash to the backlash is coming not just from old-guard hawks like Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Peter King of New York, but also from rising stars like Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas--one of the GOP's highest hopes for picking up a Senate seat in 2014.

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  • GOP Faces its Own Divisions on Budget Issues

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Republicans in Congress stumbled this week over their party's internal divisions on fiscal issues, leaving the party struggling for direction as it prepares for a bruising fall battle with Democrats over the federal budget.

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  • The Little Group Behind the Big Fight to Stop Immigration Reform

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The man behind the grassroots movement to stop immigration reform has been busy lately, preparing for the coming fight.

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Aug 01, 2013

  • Senate Panel Presses N.S.A. on Phone Logs

    By Charlie Savage and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    Senators of both parties on Wednesday sharply challenged the National Security Agency’s collection of records of all domestic phone calls, even as the latest leaked N.S.A. document provided new details on the way the agency monitors Web browsing around the world.

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  • TSA Failing to Discipline its Workers, Audit Says

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • House Republicans Pull Spending Measure, Focus on Bills to Embarrass White House

    By Ed O’Keefe and Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    House Republicans were unable Wednesday to advance the first measure to fully implement their vision for deep automatic spending cuts in 2014, abruptly pulling a bill that proposed to reduce federal transportation and housing funding by more than $4 billion.

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  • GOP Will Feel Heat at Home in August on Immigration

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    As they prepare to leave the Capitol for a month-long August recess, Republican members of the House of Representatives are taking with them legislative summaries and informational packets to tackle tough questions in their districts about immigration.

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  • When Washington Forgot How To Negotiate

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    When members of Congress return from summer recess next month, they will have less than a month to act before the farm bill expires -- and face long odds that they can clear the partisan hurdles set up between the Democratic Senate, the Republican House and final passage.

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  • Libertarians Flex Their Muscle in the GOP

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Way back in 1975, a Republican agitator named Ronald Reagan had this to say about an esoteric young movement that was roiling politics: “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

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  • The Danger of Clinton Fatigue

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    For Hillary Clinton, the problem with Anthony Weiner’s candidacy is supposed to be that it conjures memories of her own marital troubles. It's not good to have an ongoing public discussion of the parallels between Weiner’s wife and former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin (who is standing by her man) and Clinton (who did a version of the same). But didn't voters reconcile themselves Clinton's personal past long ago? Plus, as the Weiner three-ring circus adds more rings and more freak show characters by the hour—the whirling communications director of expletives, the pouty former intern, and the dishy phone paramour (phonamour?)—Weiner's behavior and the mushrooming calamity of his public life surpasses anything Bill Clinton could conjure up.

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Jul 31, 2013

  • Obama Seeks Business Tax Cuts -- and New Spending

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama, seeking to vault ahead of budget discussions with congressional Republicans this fall, proposed Tuesday to marry corporate tax reform elements with Democrats’ aims to "invest" new revenues in the economy.

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  • Government Unveils Secret Order to Verizon

    By Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

    The Obama administration on Wednesday made public a previously classified order that directed a company identified by U.S. officials as Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records.

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  • Pelosi: GOP to Blame for Partisanship

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Americans have historically low views of Congress, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says Republicans have fueled that disgust for political reasons and Democrats can win elections by highlighting GOP obstructionism.

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