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!

Nov 15, 2013

  • Analysis: In Texas courtroom, a battle resumes over race

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    Last June the U.S. Supreme Court faced a question it has wrestled with repeatedly for more than a generation: When may universities consider a student's race in making admissions decisions?

    The justices did not provide an answer. Instead they returned the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, to the lower court that had previously upheld a University of Texas affirmative action program. They instructed it to rule on whether the university had adequately considered other methods that did not use race, such as those more focused on family income, in its efforts to diversify the student body.

    Read more
  • Obama's ACA "Fix" Rests With Insurers, Regulators

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama on Thursday turned to the private health insurance industry for a lifeline, and to the mercies of what he hopes will be a forgiving public.

    It was an about-face of humbling proportions, the sort rarely seen from Obama, and an acknowledgement that the administration’s bungled implementation of the Affordable Care Act created political problems severe enough to transform insurers -- once the bad guys in the administration’s teleplay -- into potential rescuers.

    Read more
  • Lawmakers Say Health Care Fix Still Needs Legislation

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Congress may still need to act on a legislative fix to address the cancellation of health care policies affected by the Affordable Care Act, leading lawmakers said Thursday, despite President Obama's announcement that the administration can solve the problem.

    Read more
  • ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act’ Spells Trouble for Dozens of Democrats

    By Ed O'Keefe and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

    Intense focus on the early troubles of the Affordable Care Act already makes this a no good, very bad week for congressional Democrats, who are torn between supporting the signature domestic achievement of the Obama administration, but eager to be seen doing something to address significant concerns with the law.

    Read more
  • The Obamacare Fumble

    By Todd S. Purdum, Politico

    It’s the cardinal rule of marketing management: Under-promise and over-deliver. If the sign at “Pirates of the Caribbean” says the wait is 45 minutes, and your kids are floating along on the ride in half that time, Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.

    Read more
  • How Could Obama Not Have Known?

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    As the story of the Obamacare website fiasco unfolds, senior administration aides tell me that the President is "mad, frustrated and angry."

    Mad that his signature legislative achievement is stuck at the gate, frustrated that he's running out of time to fix it and angry that he's got a second-term agenda now going nowhere. He's so furious, in fact, that he stepped out of character to vent to an assembled group of top aides, saying he would have delayed the website if he had known it was a mess.

    Read more
  • Chuck Schumer Would Still Put 'Quite a Bit' of Money on Immigration Reform

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The conventional wisdom for months now has been that immigration reform is dead. Yet hope springs eternal for the large community of activists and interest groups pushing for reform to pass; this group collectively freaked out when, on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner said House Republicans aren't willing to negotiate with the Senate on the issue.

    Read more

Nov 14, 2013

  • Obamacare: Assessing damage from low enrollment numbers

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    Watch more
  • Democrats Try to Prevent Defections on Health Care

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The White House is stepping up damage control efforts on Capitol Hill where a growing number of Democrats are seeking distance from the Affordable Care Act as dissatisfaction rises over the bungled roll-out of the health care website.

    Read more
  • Democrats Try to Prevent Defections on Health Care

    Watch more
  • Will Republicans Save Obamacare?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The unrelenting disaster of the Obamacare rollout has invigorated Republicans in Congress. Suddenly, their years of warnings about the law's terrible effects seem vindicated; GOP lawmakers and commentators have turned into crusaders for the system's victims who are seeing their insurance policies canceled, having their premiums hiked, or just can't get through that darned healthcare.gov website.

    Read more
  • Intelligence Officials Aim To Pre-Empt More Surveillance Leaks

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    NSA officials are bracing for more surveillance disclosures from the documents taken by former contractor Edward Snowden — and they want to get out in front of the story.

    Read more

Nov 13, 2013

  • What is Congress Doing This Week about Obamacare?

    By Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post

    Congress returns to Washington later Tuesday after the Veterans Day weekend and House Republicans plan to spend most of the week focused on ways to either fix or roll back the law. Over in the Senate, Democrats aren't planning any official action to address the law's problems, but the White House remains sensitive to how its troubles could upset the reelection chances of several moderate Democrats next year. President Obama, in an interview with NBC News last week, didn't rule out making at least some fixes through executive action to address concerns -- but is ruling out new legislation.

    Here's a quick review of what Congress has on tap regarding the health-care law this week:

    Read more
  • Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Underlying fierce Republican efforts to stop President Obama’s health care law and the White House drive to save it is a simple historical reality: Once major entitlement programs get underway, they quickly become embedded in American life. And then they grow.

    Read more
  • Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands

    Underlying fierce Republican efforts to stop President Obama’s health care law and the White House drive to save it is a simple historical reality: Once major entitlement programs get underway, they quickly become embedded in American life. And then they grow.

    Read more
  • Troubled HealthCare.gov unlikely to work fully by end of November

    By Amy Goldstein, Juliet Eilperin and Lena H. Sun, Washington Post

    Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.

    Read more
  • Many House Republicans say: What GOP crisis?

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    As a Republican, freshman Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida cares about the Republican Party's image and fate. But what he especially cares about is a tiny sliver of the GOP: about 22,000 primary voters who lean heavily conservative and who secured his spot in the House.

    Read more
  • The Lonely Guy

    By Todd S. Purdum

    When Barack Obama arrived in Washington almost five years ago, the universal assumption was that the young president—who had, after all, won office by exploiting every connective tool of the national social and electoral network—would run his White House in sharp contrast to the bunkered, hunkered-down George W. Bush.

    Read more

Nov 12, 2013

  • Health insurance confusion may give Republicans a boost

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    The health care law's seemingly endless problems, especially around the "you can keep it" promise on health insurance, are giving congressional Republicans a much-needed boost of energy, helping them to move past the government-shutdown debacle and focus on a theme for next year's congressional elections.

    Read more
  • Obama vows to honor U.S. veterans' service long after wars end

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama pledged Monday to honor the nation’s debt to its military veterans by improving healthcare, job support and educational opportunities for those who have served.

    Read more