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 09, 2013

  • U.S. Considers Cutting More Military Aid to Egypt

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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Oct 08, 2013

  • Shutdown Shines Spotlight on Rift in Republican Party

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    One week into the first federal government shutdown since 1996, the Republican Party remains hostage to an unrealistic strategy aimed at an unattainable goal — defunding the nation’s health-care law — that had no obvious path to success.

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  • Government Shutdown Enters Second Week

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Washington is no closer to ending the government shutdown, which entered its second week Monday, as Democrats remain unmoved by refocused GOP efforts to reach a broader budget deal.

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  • Senate Leaders Mull Raising Debt Ceiling in Challenge to House

    By Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

    Senate Democratic leaders will move forward this week on a measure to raise the government’s legal borrowing limit without any policy strings attached, answering House Republicans’ taunts that Democrats would not force their politically vulnerable senators to cast that difficult vote.

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  • How This Ends

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Have we reached peak bleak in Washington? It feels like it when just about the only thing you hear is Republicans and Democrats making bigger claims about how they won’t blink. But let's engage for a moment in some tiny bit of optimism. What if we close our eyes and listen to that thin slice of the reporting that points a way out of this mess?

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  • Obama Digs In, Rejects Cutting Deals With GOP

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The president is not furloughed like much of the executive branch, but having canceled his plans to be in Southeast Asia for summits this week, Barack Obama had time to kill in the nation’s capital Monday.

    So he filled his schedule during the ongoing shutdown stalemate by talking about congressional Republicans … without talking to them, and inviting them to approve interim relief if disagreements persist.

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  • Preview: Supreme Court’s Fall Session

    With David Wessel and Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal

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Oct 07, 2013

  • Shutdown’s Roots Lie in Deeply Embedded Divisions in America’s Politics

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    The government shutdown did not happen by accident. It is the latest manifestation — an extreme one by any measure — of divisions long in the making and now deeply embedded in the country’s politics.

    At some point, presumably, the current standoff will end. The federal government will reopen, the ceiling on its borrowing power will be lifted and some stalled legislation could pass. Some sense of normalcy will return to official Washington.

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  • How the Impasses in Washington Might Play Out

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Key lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill say they don't know how the battles over funding the government and increasing the nation's debt limit might be resolved. In interviews, they lay out several possibilities, all of which face huge political impediments:

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  • Investigative Unit Who Was the U.S. After in SEAL Somalia Raid?

    By Martha Raddatz, Brian Ross, James Gordon Meek, Dana Hughes, ABC News

    A team from the Navy's elite SEAL Team Six was after a foreign-born leader of al-Shabab in Somalia when it was caught in a firefight and forced to retreat, just hours before another American counter-terrorist unit snatched an alleged al Qaeda leader of the streets of Tripoli, Libya 3,000 miles away on Saturday, U.S. officials told ABC News.

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  • Raids Show the Limits of U.S. Military Strikes

    By Peter Baker and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    Four vans with tinted windows converged in a comfortable Tripoli neighborhood as a leader of Al Qaeda returned home on Saturday from early morning prayers. As his wife watched with alarm from a window, the men — armed with silencer-equipped weapons, some masked and some not — smashed his car window. Within moments, they were gone, taking with them one of America’s most wanted terror suspects.

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  • The Unsettled Healthcare Law

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Ever since Obamacare's stormy passage in early 2011, Democrats have been waiting anxiously for the program to go into effect and hoping that a dose of reality would calm the partisan battles over the health insurance plan. Once everything was up and running, they hoped, skeptical Americans would see that Obamacare was a good idea all along — and reward the party that brought it to them.

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Oct 04, 2013

  • GOP Lawmakers: Boehner Tells Colleagues He Will Avoid a Default on Federal Debt

    By Lori Montgomery and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post

    With the government shuttered and a deadline for raising the debt limit just two weeks off, anxious Republicans began steering the party away from a dead-end debate about the health-care law and toward discussion of a broader deal to reduce the nation’s debt.

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  • Extreme Pragmatism

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Right now, roughly 30 House Republicans are driving the bus in Washington. Along with Sen. Ted Cruz, they have been the "titanium backbone," as Rep. Marsha Blackburn likes to call it, in the effort to defund Obamacare. They have stood their ground and helped bring the government to a halt. This is either an act of lunacy or a shining example of standing for conservative principle.

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  • Low Ratings for President, Congress and Consumer Confidence Make This Shutdown Different From Rest

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    While a government shut-down is not new, it is the first time where we've seen a combination of low presidential approval, low consumer confidence and low approval ratings of Congress. With no one starting in a good position, it becomes harder to predict just how this plays out politically over the next few weeks - or even into 2014. More importantly, with a debt ceiling fight right around the corner, the already fragile consumer confidence index could see a serious slip that will have even more significant consequences for 2014.

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  • Shutdown Could Diminish GOP Hopes of Winning Senate

    By Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane, Washington Post

    The political fallout from the partial government shutdown does not appear likely to affect the House Republicans who instigated it, given that so many of them come from deeply conservative districts where their constituents cheered the confrontation with President Obama.

    But others in the GOP are worried. Party veterans say they are increasingly concerned that a prolonged standoff in Washington could damage their prospects for winning back the Senate in 2014.


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  • Senator: Capitol Police Working Without Pay Is ‘A National Disgrace’

    By Jeff Zeleny and Michael Falcone, ABC News

    Capitol Police officers who sprang into action on Thursday during a shooting near the U.S. Capitol are among the hundreds of thousands of government employees being forced to work without pay during the shutdown.

    They are deemed essential personnel, but will not be paid until after the budget impasse is resolved.

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Oct 03, 2013

  • Why Washington Fails

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    When we get in one of these budget fixes, Washington veterans, community fathers, Boy Scout troop leaders, and sensible people across the land wonder why a few adults can't just get into a room and hash out their differences. Everyone knows what the solutions are. There are a series of hotels in Washington that stay in business by hosting think-tank events where the same set of solutions are traded year after year. If only the politicians could get out of the daily political grinder, both sides could hammer out an agreement.

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  • Obama to Wall Street: This Time be worried

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • D.C Republicans Hate Obamacare, but GOP Governors Have Learned to Love It

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Republicans in Congress, you may have heard, are determined to stop Obamacare. So determined are some of them that they allowed the federal government to shut down when their efforts to stop the Affordable Care Act failed. But some Republican governors have a different view: Increasingly, they’re turning to a controversial part of Obamacare to save them politically.

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