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!

Oct 18, 2013

  • The Challenge for Lawmakers to Give Up Their Pay

    With Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

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  • Can Obama Seize The Moment And Make Washington Work?

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    It’s rare when a president is given an opportunity to reboot in the middle of a term, but that’s what the end of the government shutdown has provided President Obama. The question now is: What will he do with it?

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  • Obama’s Edge Over G.O.P. Is Still Unclear After Victory in Standoff

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    As the Senate voted Wednesday night on a bipartisan deal to reopen the government and avert a national default, President Obama emerged from the Oval Office prepared to head to the White House briefing room to deliver a televised statement. But he was thinking beyond the moment.

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  • Analysis: Republicans Reassess After Shutdown Debacle

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The GOP establishment has embarked, once again, on a round of soul-searching. But this time, the question is: What will it take to save the Republicans from the self-destructive impulses of the tea party movement?

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  • Winning!

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    At his Thursday press conference, President Obama declared, "There are no winners"—just before he proceeded to act like a man who had just won. The morning after the budget crisis ended, the president's remarks were extensive and clear about who was to blame for the 16-day standoff that cost the economy roughly $24 billion, by one estimate.* The president outlined all that had been sacrificed—from slowed economic growth and higher deficits to America's damaged credibility in the world. He suggested his opponents were too witless to avoid being cowed by bloggers and talk radio, and had risked the very American experiment our predecessors spent two centuries building. The public, which had overwhelmingly blamed Republicans, no doubt knew who he was talking about and who to blame. If it wasn’t clear, the president had a piece of advice for those Republicans: Rather than trying to "break" the government because they disagreed with him, they should "go out there and win an election."

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  • The Ties That Bind

    By Todd Purdum, Politico

    Some first-blush post-mortems of the Great Seinfeld Shutdown of 2013 have missed one bigger point.

    John Boehner may have got next to nothing in his 16-day standoff with the White House — except a reprieve from the red-hots in his own caucus who are grateful for the rope he gave them. But Barack Obama got not much more. The president’s “victory” is so far only a ticket to fight the same battles all over again early next year.

     

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Oct 17, 2013

  • Government Reopens After Shutdown; Obama Urges Congress to Resist ‘Extremists’

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

    Federal agencies, parks, museums and monuments began to reopen Thursday morning, after a chastened Congress ended a bitter funding standoff that triggered a 16-day government closure and drove the nation toward the brink of default.

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  • Obama Wins

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    President Obama said he wouldn’t negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit and funding the government, and he never really needed to pick up the phone. The deal that passed both houses of Congress Wednesday achieves both goals, with minuscule concessions from the president's side. In the crude analogy of two cars playing chicken, the president's opponents pulled over. After 16 days of a government shutdown, the Republican Party has achieved its lowest approval ratings in recorded history, the president's health care plan is unscathed, and the GOP’s civil war still roars. Proof was on the cable television split-screens. As Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was announcing the bipartisan deal that ended the standoff, Sen. Ted Cruz was holding his own press conference denouncing the Senate establishment that had caved.

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  • Boehner's Jam: Caucus Loves but Won't Follow Him

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Congress' debt-and-spending breakthrough crystalized a political contradiction.

    House Republicans refuse to let their supposed leader, Speaker John Boehner, steer them toward big policy decisions, leaving him to endure repeated public embarrassments. Yet they rally around Boehner as much as ever, affirming his hold on the speakership Wednesday even as they choked down a Democratic-crafted bill to reopen the government, lift the debt ceiling and give Republicans only a few small concessions.

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  • Can Congress Get Past Political Differences?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • The Conservative War on the GOP

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    On his radio show recently, Glenn Beck urged his listeners to “defund the GOP.” Sarah Palin has threatened to leave the Republican Party; Rush Limbaugh calls it “irrelevant.” The Senate Conservatives Fund has targeted mainly incumbent Republican senators for defeat. Erick Erickson, one of the right’s most prominent commentators, wonders if what's coming is “a real third party movement that will fully divide the Republican Party.”

    Conservatives have declared war on the GOP.

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  • Shutdown Resolution May Just Push Washington’s Dysfunction into 2014

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Washington, once again, has stepped back from the brink. But does the rout of tea party Republicans suggest an end to the dysfunctional cycle in which governing consists of lurching from crisis to crisis?

    Don’t count on it.

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Oct 16, 2013

  • Signs Indicate That Obama’s Debt Ceiling Gamble May Be Paying Off

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    More than two years ago, President Obama was still in the thick of his previous showdown with Republican House leaders over the nation’s debt limit when he called five senior advisers into his office. He did not ask their advice, one said. Rather, he told them, in a way that brooked no discussion: From now on, no more negotiating over legislation so basic and essential to the economy, and the country.

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  • Top House Democrat Warns: ‘Economy Is On The Edge Of A Waterfall’

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, issued an urgent warning Tuesday night about the consequences of a partial government default, declaring: “The economy is on the edge of a waterfall.”

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  • The Standoff on the Hill Foreshadows Another Standoff in a Matter of Months

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    The American people have witnessed a dizzying series of legislative maneuvers along with political posturing of a high art over the past few weeks. The fact is that little of it has had anything to do with resolving substantive differences about the federal budget.

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  • McConnell delivers; Boehner can't

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    God bless Mitch McConnell.

    The Senate Republican leader isn't an especially lovable figure. Even many of his fellow conservatives are lukewarm about him.

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  • Health-Care Law’s Fate Could Hinge On Political Climate in Individual States

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The greatest threats to the ultimate success of the new health-care law come not from the technical problems that have plagued its rollout, but from a hostile political climate in many individual states and from potentially serious weaknesses in its design.

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  • Supreme Court Takes On Affirmative Action in Michigan Ban Case

    By Pete Williams and Daniel Arkin, NBC News

    Demonstrators crowded the sidewalk outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday as the justices took on the hot-button issue of affirmative action, hearing oral arguments in a case about Michigan's voter-backed ban on using race as a criterion in college admissions.

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  • In U.S. Top Court Race Case, John Roberts is Chief Phrasemaker

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    As U.S. chief justice, John Roberts has sought to rein in laws he insists have gone too far on race. At the Supreme Court on Tuesday, he matched rhetoric to action with a pithiness that underscores his opposition to racial preferences.

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Oct 15, 2013

  • Senate Nears Debt Deal

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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