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 15, 2013

  • Senate Leaders Within Striking Distance of Deal to End Shutdown, Raise Debt Limit

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

    Senate leaders said late Monday that they were closing in on a deal to raise the federal debt limit and end the two-week-old government shutdown, just days before the Treasury Department exhausts its ability to borrow.

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  • Why Harry Reid Won’t Take Yes for an Answer

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Majority Leader Harry Reid moved the goal posts. On Saturday, when Republican Senate negotiators came to work, they thought they were close to a deal with Democrats based on the proposal offered by Republican Sen. Susan Collins. The government would be reopened for six months in exchange for a delay of the medical device tax that helps fund Obamacare, flexibility in managing sequestration cuts, and new requirements to verify income for those entering the federal exchanges as a part of the Affordable Care Act. But the Senate Democratic leader didn't like the six-month date, so he called it off.

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  • Panetta to Obama: Get Out and Schmooze More

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Leon Panetta has some tough advice for the president he worked for until early this year: If you want to break Washington’s cycle of crises, you need to spend more time with members of Congress, especially Republicans.

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  • Al Qaeda Suspect, Captured in Libya, is Taken to New York to Face Charges

    By Pete Williams and Erin McClam, NBC News

    A suspected al Qaeda operative who was captured in Libya and held aboard an American warship for interrogation has been taken to New York to face charges that he played a role in the bombings of two African embassies in 1998, federal authorities said Monday.

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  • Iran’s Nuclear Detente Treated With Cautious Optimism

    By Jonathan Tirone, Kambiz Foroohar & Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

    World powers reacted with optimism to Iranian proposals on ways to end a decade-long nuclear standoff as two days of talks got underway in Geneva.

    Iran began today’s meeting with a one-hour presentation to diplomats from the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. The meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva is the first since negotiations stalled in April and follows a telephone conversation between Rouhani and Barack Obama last month -- the highest level contact between leaders of the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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  • U.S. Justices to Hear Race Case; One Side Has Two Voices

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will delve into a decades-old debate over university admissions policies that favor racial minorities, hearing a Michigan case that picks up where the justices left off last session in a dispute from the University of Texas.

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Oct 11, 2013

  • Shutdown Day 11: Negotiating the Negotiations

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

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  • Obama, Republicans in Debt Talks on Two Fronts

    By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, The Washington Post

    President Obama opened talks with House Republicans on Thursday about their plan to lift the federal debt limit through late November, raising hopes that Washington would avert its first default on the national debt.

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  • Obama, GOP Open Talks Over Temporary Debt Fix

    By y Janet Hook and Patrick O'Connor, Wall Street Journal

    President Barack Obama and House Republicans began discussions Thursday on a GOP proposal to extend the nation's borrowing authority for six weeks, marking a new opening in the budget stalemate that risks a U.S. debt crisis.

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  • America’s Debt Ceiling

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    WHEN big chunks of America’s federal government suspended business on October 1st markets mostly yawned. Although the “shutdown” was the first in 17 years, the political dysfunction that caused it has become the norm in Washington, and the economic consequences are slight. Nerves are now beginning to fray, however, because something far worse looms. On October 17th the Treasury will run out of ways to sidestep the limit Congress places on the federal government’s debt and so will no longer be able to borrow.

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  • What GOP Governors Want You to Forget

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Republican governors with an eye on 2016 have been downright indignant about the federal-government shutdown.

    "I think it's always irresponsible if you're running the government to be advocating for shutting it down," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

    "We're done as governors letting the dysfunction of Washington define conservative principles and ideas," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

    "The idea that you got to defund government over one program is a bit nonsensical," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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  • The Final Insult in the Bush-Cheney Marriage

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    In the final days of his presidency, George W. Bush sat behind his desk in the Oval Office, chewing gum and staring into the distance as two White House lawyers briefed him on the possible last-minute pardon of I. Lewis Libby.

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Oct 10, 2013

  • Wait, I Thought We Were Fighting Over Obamacare?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Is the political gridlock in Washington over killing Obamacare or not? It’s hard to say anymore.

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  • Is the Affordable Care Act Off the Table?

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

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  • WH Bristles as Boehner Trims GOP Invite List

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The incendiary language that heated up Washington on a cold, rainy Wednesday took political hostage-taking in a new direction.

    To hear the White House tell it, House Speaker John Boehner is so concerned that President Obama might convert wavering souls in the GOP conference that the Ohio congressman barred many of his colleagues from accepting the president’s invitation to meet with him on Thursday at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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  • Key Republicans Signal Willingness to Back Down on Effort to Defund Health-Care Law

    By Karen Tumulty and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post

    Key GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy.

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  • The Kochs Can't Control the Monster They Created

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The government shutdown and looming threat of default have pitted House conservatives against the Republican Party's traditional allies in the business community. Populist Tea Partiers driven by ideology care little for the pleas for sanity from banking lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce; indeed, they wear their disregard for Big Business as a badge of honor.

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  • A New Hand on the Tiller

    By Greg Ip, The Economist

    Janet Yellen's nomination to chair the Federal Reserve is ground breaking, and not just because she will be the first woman in the job. She would also be the first known dove to hold the position.

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Oct 09, 2013

  • Divide Hardens Between Obama, Boehner

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    When historians and political scientists dig deeper into the impasse that widened Tuesday between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, they'll describe two men who may have placed the wrong bets -- on each other.

    In dueling press conferences Tuesday, each man explained his own calculations, offering no reassurances that the government can reopen or default can be averted by next week’s deadline.

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  • Some House Republicans Dismiss Default Warnings as Hype

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Hard-line House Republicans are dismissing dire warnings that a government default would wreck US and world economies as another case of hyperbole from an Obama administration that cried wolf about the likely impacts of automatic spending cuts and partially shutting down the government.

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