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!

Sep 18, 2013

  • As Budget Fight Looms, Obama Sees Defiance in His Own Party

    By Peter Baker and and Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times

    For four years, President Obama counted on fellow Democrats to rally to his side in a series of epic battles with Republicans over the direction of the country. But now, deep in his fifth year in office, Mr. Obama finds himself frustrated by members of his own party weary of his leadership and increasingly willing to defy him.

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  • Navy Yard Shooting Unlikely to Jump-Start the Debate Over Tougher Gun Control Laws

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    The deadly shootings at the Washington Navy Yard have quickly, and predictably, resurrected the debate about tighter federal gun laws, but there is little expectation that the tragic event will generate enough political momentum to produce any new legislation.

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  • Democrats: Still Not Enough Support for Gun Bills

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The day after a mass shooting in the nation's capital that left 12 Navy Yard workers dead, top Democrats said the tragedy has not changed the political reality in Congress, where any legislation affecting gun owners' rights does not have the support to pass.

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  • Officials: Edward Snowden's Leaks Were Masked By Job Duties

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    More than three months after Edward Snowden revealed details of NSA secret surveillance activities, intelligence officials are still assessing the fallout from the former contractor's disclosures. But they already know how the Snowden leaks happened.

    Listen here
  • On Foreign Policy, a Consistently Inconsistent President

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    In the wake of his dizzying reverses over chemical weapons in Syria, President Obama has been blasted as inconsistent, impulsive and amateurish in his conduct of foreign policy. But when you look at his actions rather than his words, there's more consistency than meets the eye. Consider the evidence.

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Sep 17, 2013

  • Obama: Shooting Victims Were "Patriots"

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama promised a thorough and "seamless" investigation into shootings at the Washington Navy Yard that killed military and civilian personnel and injured others during a melee that gripped the nation's capital on a drizzly Monday morning.

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  • Audit: Felons Gained Access to Military Sites

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    At least 52 convicted felons have received routine unauthorized access to military installations in recent years, according to a federal watchdog report on security at several U.S. Navy installations set for release in the coming days.

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  • Why Hasn't Obama Nominated Yellen to Fed Already?

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

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  • Push for Yellen to Lead at Fed Gathers Steam

    By Jackie Calmes and Binyam Applebaum, The New York Times

    Janet L. Yellen told friends in recent weeks that she did not expect to be nominated as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Although she had been the Fed’s vice chairman since 2010 and would make history as the first woman to hold the job, President Obama’s aides made clear throughout the summer that he wanted Lawrence H. Summers, his former chief economic adviser.

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  • Will the Fed Announce Tapering at Its Next Meeting?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

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  • Colorado Rarely Experiences Flooding Disasters

    By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

    The massive flooding that has destroyed or damaged more than 19,000 homes and left thousands displaced in Colorado is a once-in-a-millenium event, forecasters say. Flooding of any kind is rare in Colorado, a state much more likely to be hit by wildfires or tornadoes than torrential downpours.

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Sep 16, 2013

  • Summers Steps Out of Fed Race

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Summers Quit Fed Quest as Democrats Spurned Obama Favorite

    By Julianna Goldman, Cheyenne Hopkins & Phil Mattingly, Bloomberg News

    Lawrence Summers’s withdrawal as a candidate for Federal Reserve chairman came after an unprecedented campaign to stop a Fed nominee even before he was announced, spearheaded by Democratic senators who took on a president of their own party.

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  • The Congressional Fight Over Obamacare, Part 341

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    The congressional calendar this week suggests that the House will begin debating a short-term spending plan while the Senate continues work on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill. But really all that lawmakers will be doing is fighting yet again about President Obama’s health-care law.

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  • The Death of Gun Control

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Ever since the Senate voted down gun-control legislation in April, some advocates have remained convinced there was still hope. As of Tuesday, that hope is officially dead.

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  • In America, Not Isolationism But Skepticism

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama and his aides were surprised this month by the strength of public opposition to their call for military action against Syria. They shouldn't have been.

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Sep 13, 2013

  • American Exceptionalism, Explained

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    From the right, President Obama has often been attacked for failing to embrace the concept of “American exceptionalism.” And now, Russian President Vladimir Putin contends that Obama has gone overboard with it.

    Which raises the question: What is American exceptionalism, anyway?

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  • Is a Resolution Possible With Assad's Conditions?

    With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad set what may be unacceptable conditions for the U.S. in negotiating a chemical-weapons deal, saying it must be a “two-way street” in which the Obama administration drops its military threats and stops arming Syrian rebels.

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  • Obama Allies Say He Misread Public's Mood, Congress' Willingness in Push for Strike at Syria

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Some of President Barack Obama's top allies say the president misread a few crucial political forces when he asked Congress to support his bid to strike Syria.

    Chief among Obama's missteps, they say, was underestimating the nation's profound weariness with military entanglements in the Middle East, fed by residual anger over the origins of the Iraq war, and overestimating lawmakers' willingness to make risky votes 14 months before the next congressional elections.

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  • Obama's Team Calls a Timeout

    By Christi Parsons, Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    As the White House announced this week it had canceled the annual congressional picnic, officials said the decision had nothing to do with the administration's frustration with Congress.

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