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 25, 2013

  • Obama Softens Tone on Immigration Reform

    By Brian Bennett and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    After months of insisting the House should take up the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June, President Obama changed tactics Thursday and said he might consider GOP proposals to overhaul separate parts of the immigration system.

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  • In Virginia, a Swing State Turns Against the Tea Party

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    Surely the greatest irony of the recent federal government shutdown was this: Some furloughed federal workers, finding themselves with time on their hands and presumably angry at what Congress had done to their livelihoods, used their unscheduled leisure to cast their ballots early in the state’s gubernatorial race.

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Oct 24, 2013

  • Can a President Expect ACA Flaws But Be in the Dark Too?

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Conservative lawmakers want to know what President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knew, and when they knew it. Did the administration launch the Oct. 1 Affordable Care Act enrollment phase knowing the Web portal would be flawed? Was their decision to proceed rather than wait the correct one?

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  • Sharon Alford knows what they have been saying about her state’s junior senator up in Washington. Which is why she was standing here, among about 600 people in a sweltering warehouse, holding a hand-made sign that said, “We the people ♥ Ted Cruz.”

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    The Obama administration, seeking to remedy confusion about the Affordable Care Act's deadlines, said Wednesday that Americans can purchase health insurance through March 31 and avert the law’s penalty, which would be applied to those who are uninsured next year.

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  • Ted Cruz Returns to Texas as a Hero Who is Reshaping the State Republican Party

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    Sharon Alford knows what they have been saying about her state’s junior senator up in Washington. Which is why she was standing here, among about 600 people in a sweltering warehouse, holding a hand-made sign that said, “We the people ♥ Ted Cruz.”

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  • Inside the Messy but Moneyed Republican Plan to Neutralize the Tea Party

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    It took a tea party insurrection that disabled the federal government and wrecked the Republican brand, but after months of handwringing, establishment Republicans are preparing to attack ultra-conservative ideologues across red America.

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  • Trash-Talking the President

    By Todd Purdum, Politico

    No matter how many times you’ve been there, the White House is a pretty awesome place, conferring on every president what “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin once called “the single greatest home-court advantage in the modern world.”

    So it would have to rank as the biggest “in your face” any modern president has faced if someone actually said to Barack Obama, in his own workspace — where a constantly shifting array of blown-up photographs of him line the halls and a retinue of helicopters wait at his beck and call — “I cannot even stand to look at you.”

     

     

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  • Partisan Squabbles Raise Questions Over U.S. Global Influence

    The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.

    The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.

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  • France is Latest US Ally Angered by NSA Snooping

    By Deb Riechmann and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    The sweep and scope of National Security Agency snooping abroad forced President Barack Obama once again to hear complaints from a U.S. ally angry about the surveillance net that has sparked an international debate over the limits of American spying.

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Oct 23, 2013

  • HealthCare.gov Pricing Feature Can Be Off the Mark

    With Jan Crawford, CBS News

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  • Poof Goes the Middle Class

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Imagine a future in which real wages for most workers decline year after year; a future in which middle-class jobs that disappeared in the Great Recession won't be coming back; a future in which young Americans either squeeze into an increasingly wealthy elite or tumble to the bottom, with fewer and fewer in what we once called the middle class.

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  • Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed

    Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    With rebel forces in Syria in retreat and the Obama administration’s policy toward the war-ravaged country in disarray, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at the White House Situation Room one day in June with a document bearing a warning. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against his people, the document said, and if the United States did not “impose consequences,” Mr. Assad would see it as a “green light for continued CW use.”

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  • Is Immigration Really Dead in the House?

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, declared immigration reform dead, so why aren’t the opponents of a big overhaul pouring the champagne?

    Because they know better than anyone that the issue could be resurrected at any time.

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  • France Is Latest US Ally Angered by NSA Snooping

    By Deb Riechmann and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    The sweep and scope of National Security Agency snooping abroad forced President Barack Obama once again to hear complaints from a U.S. ally angry about the surveillance net that has sparked an international debate over the limits of American spying.

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Oct 22, 2013

  • Error Message

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    An IT problem has never escalated faster than the president's Rose Garden speech Monday addressing the problems with healthcare.gov. He could no longer outsource responding to user complaints. At first, the White House had said the headaches signing people up for health care coverage were just technical glitches, but now the sheer number of those glitches defies that explanation. Reporting about deeper systemic problems suggest that fixes will not come quickly. As my colleague Matthew Yglesias explains, adding more bodies to the problem adds more complexity, which may exacerbate the problem. It's hard to untangle Christmas lights by committee.

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  • Obama in Full Bore Damage Control

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    There’s a reason why President Obama and fellow Democrats insist the Affordable Care Act is more than a website.

    A marginally unpopular law now offers in some states a hugely confusing and frustrating online enrollment experience that won’t be fixed tomorrow and has jeopardized the government’s second chance to make a first impression.

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  • Democrats Reach Out to Business After Shutdown

    By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    At a time when the business community’s ties to congressional Republicans have been strained by recent fiscal crises, Democratic political operatives are trying to move into the breach.

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  • In Texas, Ted Cruz Has Allies

    By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

    When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his Tea Party allies took control of congressional Republicans’ legislative strategy last month in an ultimately failed effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, veteran Republicans worried their party had been commandeered by a small faction of extremists.

    Those who worry over Cruz’s influence, however, would do well to avoid his home state. A little more than a year after Cruz upset establishment favorite David Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor, in his bid to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), the entire Texas Republican Party resembles the take-no-prisoners, damn-the-torpedoes approach Cruz has taken in Washington.

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  • Poll: Major Damage to GOP After Shutdown, and Broad Dissatisfaction with Government

    By Dan Balz and Scott Clement, Washington Post

    The budget confrontation that led to a partial government shutdown dealt a major blow to the GOP’s image and has exposed significant divisions between tea party supporters and other Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    The survey highlights just how badly the GOP hard-liners and the leaders who went along with them misjudged the public mood. In the aftermath, eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of the shutdown. Two in three Republicans or independents who lean Republican share a negative view of the impasse. And even a majority of those who support the tea party movement disapprove.

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  • France joins list of allies angry over NSA spying

    By Deb Riechmann and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    Joining a growing list of angry allies, France on Monday demanded an explanation from Washington of a report that the U.S. swept up 70 million French telephone records and text messages in its global surveillance net, even recording certain private conversations.

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