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 01, 2013

  • TSA Failing to Discipline its Workers, Audit Says

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Watch more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.”

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more

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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • Do High-Profile Meals Signal Clinton is Running for President?

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    Hillary Clinton met with Vice President Joe Biden for breakfast on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after she sat down for a private lunch at the White House with President Obama. Does this means she's decided on a White House run?

    Watch more
  • Ted Cruz, Wacko Like a Fox

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Ted Cruz is on a roll.

    The tea party firebrand from Texas has been in the Senate all of seven months, but he's already looking like a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

    Last week, Cruz won a straw poll at a major gathering of the party's conservative wing in Denver with an impressive 45% of the votes, far ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

    Read more

Jul 30, 2013

  • Obama to Call for Business Tax Overhaul in Grand Bargain

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama, seeking to offer fresh economic proposals that could pass a gridlocked Congress, will call for a restructuring of business taxes so long as the initial revenue generated goes toward job creation.

    Read more
  • In No Mood for Compromise

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    How does immigration reform pass after a bloody fight over a government shutdown? The White House strategy for the fall relies on back-to-back capitulations from conservative Republicans on the core issues of taxes and spending and immigration. That's bad news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. Their issue is going to come up after a deal is reached on the budget, which means passage of comprehensive reform would require the second huge cave by Republican leaders. That’s more spelunking than the system can tolerate.

    Read more
  • A Narrow Border-Security Agreement could Pave the Way for Broad Immigration Reform

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    In mid-May, as most of Congress was consumed with the troubles at the Internal Revenue Service and the Senate was conducting closely watched hearings on a sprawling, contentious immigration reform bill, something remarkable happened in the House Homeland Security Committee.

    Read more
  • Kerry Center Stage in Israel-Palestine Talks Reset

    With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News Watch more
  • Obama Reassures Leaders on Enforcing Voting Rights

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    Days after his administration filed suit against Texas to protect minority voters, President Obama told civil rights leaders and local officials on Monday that the federal government would vigorously enforce voting rights in the country despite a Supreme Court ruling against a core section of a landmark 1965 law, several participants said after a White House meeting.

    Read more
  • The Best Way to Get Rid of Anthony Weiner: Stop Paying Attention to Him

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    I’m not naïve. I get that sex sells. I know the Anthony Weiner saga is buzzy and great for ratings. But, in the end, it’s terrible for those of us who love covering politics, and for the institution of public service itself. Weiner cheapens the thing that we are trying to convince Americans (and in some cases our bosses at news organizations), is so valuable: the role of government in American life. At a time when trust in Washington is at an all-time low, Weiner – and guys like Elliot Spitzer and Bob Filner - are another reminder to Americans about of how incredibly dysfunctional and disconnected government is.

    Read more

Jul 29, 2013

  • How the Obama Campaign Won the Race for Voter Data

    By Dan Balz, Washington Post

    From the moment Barack Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, and every day thereafter, his team was always preparing for the 2012 campaign. Everyone said Obama’s 2008 operation had rewritten the book on organizing. But that was just a beginning, a small first step toward what the team envisioned when it began planning the reelection campaign.

    Read more
  • Why Democrats Are Laughing at the Republican Digital Strategy -- And Why They Shouldn't Be

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Phil Musser has spent most of his career in the stodgy Beltway political establishment, from the Bush administration to the Republican Governors Association to advisory posts with the Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns.


    Read more
  • Interview With President Obama

    By The New York Times

    Following is a transcript of an interview with President Obama conducted by Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear of The New York Times. The interview was conducted at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., on July 24, 2013.

    NYT: So we’re here with you, already four years since the recession officially ended. And as your speech sort of laid out, you still have a situation where growth remains slow, income’s is unequal, and a lot of American -- unemployment high -- and a lot of Americans start to worry that this is the new normal. Your intentions aside like you stated them out there in the speech, why shouldn’t we expect that you’re going to leave behind an economy that’s fragile, continued income inequality, and a weakened middle class?

    Read more