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!

Feb 12, 2014

  • Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights

    By Carrie Johnson, NPR

    Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."

    In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.

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  • How Important are Gay Rights to President Obama?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    As the White House prepares to host French President François Hollande for a rare state dinner on Tuesday, here are three questions to start the week:

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Feb 11, 2014

  • GOP Pushes Plan Tying Debt Ceiling to Military Pensions

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republican leaders are moving ahead with an increase in the nation's debt limit in exchange for a reversal of minor cuts in military pensions that were part of the recent bipartisan budget deal.

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  • Employer Health Care Mandate Delayed

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • GOP Irked by New Delay of Obamacare Mandate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    It took mere minutes Monday before howls of GOP outrage circulated through Washington.

    The Obama administration is “unilaterally making it up as they go along,” protested Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus after learning the administration used executive “discretion” Monday to delay until 2016 the Affordable Care Act’s mandates for mid-size employers.

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  • U.S. Debates Drone Strike on American Terrorism Suspect in Pakistan

    By Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    The Obama administration is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan who some believe is actively plotting terrorist attacks, according to current and former government officials.

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  • Voices: 'Hispanic' is poor way to describe rich cultures

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    As I finished an interview with a state senator in northern Florida, he suggested I try out a Mexican restaurant a few blocks away.

    "You'll love it," he said. "Two blocks down, on the left."

    I thanked him for the suggestion, but pointed out that I was of Cuban descent, not Mexican. He paused, gave me a quizzical stare and said, "Uh huh. Two blocks down, on the left."

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Feb 10, 2014

  • The GOP’s immigration conundrum

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    House Republicans’ latest revolt against immigration reform spells potential trouble for the party’s 2016 presidential candidates. The last thing the GOP needs in 2016 is another primary season marked by debate and dissension over the fraught issue.

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  • Dead on Arrival

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    In the famous scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail, a man tries to convince an undertaker with a cart full of bodies that the old man he is carrying on his shoulder is dead. The alleged corpse protests, "I'm not dead yet." They debate the point. "I don't want to go on the cart," says the old man. "Don't be such a baby," says his captor.

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  • If the House ever debates immigration, here’s where it might start

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to temper expectations last week by suggesting that it will be incredibly difficult for the House to make any progress on immigration reform this year.

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  • Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

    By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

    Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

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  • American terror suspect possibly targeted for drone attack

    By Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

    An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.

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  • Charlie Crist Hugs Barack Obama All Over Again

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    You'd think Charlie Crist would know better.

    He nearly destroyed his political career five years ago by wrapping his arms around Barack Obama. And now he's doing it again.

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Feb 07, 2014

  • TSA: No Liquids on U.S. Flights to Russia

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The TSA is now imposing a temporary new ban on most aerosols, gels, powders, and liquids in carry-ons on U.S. flights to Russia — bringing American regulations into line with the rules that Russia itself imposed earlier this week.

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  • Boehner: Distrust of Obama drags down immigration bill

    By Susan Davis and Alan Gomez, USA Today

    The already uphill battle in this Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration laws became even more difficult Thursday when House Speaker John Boehner cast doubts that a bill can pass this year.

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  • No, Liberals Don't Control the Democratic Party

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    In a classroom in Harlem, the liberal new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, appeared with union leaders in support of his plan to raise taxes on incomes higher than $500,000 to fund public pre-kindergarten. "We're asking this of the wealthy," de Blasio said, "because there are too many working parents in this city today" who need help.

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  • Will Jeb Bush Fill the GOP's Governor-Shaped 2016 Hole?

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    All of a sudden, Jeb Bush is in the sweet spot.

    That was not the case one year ago, when it was the ex-Florida governor's protégé, Sen. Marco Rubio, who was declared "the savior of the Republican Party" by Time magazine. Bush, in contrast, looked dated and squishy while promoting a book that backed off his past support for citizenship for illegal immigrants.

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  • Government Shutdown Best Thing to Happen to Boehner & GOP

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    Not so long ago, Speaker John Boehner was the leader of an undisciplined, deeply divided majority that seemed bent on self-destruction. Now, just three months after the disastrous GOP-led government shutdown, Boehner looks like a man in control of his party and his own legislative destiny. He’s lashed out at outside groups who have been stirring up discontent within the ranks. He’s passed legislation like the Farm Bill and the budget deal over the objections of Tea Party groups. Just a few days ago he was looking relaxed and comfortable joking with Jay Leno about spray tans and internal GOP dysfunction on the Tonight Show. Moreover, there’s now serious talk about an immigration bill passing the House. And no one in the party is (seriously) threatening to hold the debt ceiling vote hostage.

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Feb 06, 2014

  • Feds Warn Russian Flights About Toothpaste Bombs

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The U.S. government has sent an advisory to airlines that fly into Russia, warning them that recent intelligence suggests terrorists might try to smuggle explosives onto planes by using toothpaste tubes.

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  • Security in Sochi

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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