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!

Mar 14, 2014

  • Ukraine aid package stalls in Congress amid Republican infighting and partisan bickering

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    A proposed U.S. aid package for Ukraine’s fledgling pro-Western government stalled Thursday amid festering Republican Party feuds over foreign policy.

    Read more
  • Prerogatives" Cited as WH Keeps Documents From Senate

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    To protect “executive branch confidentiality,” President Obama is withholding from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 9,400 CIA-related documents created during the Bush administration, the White House and Senate sources confirmed Thursday.

    Read more
  • Senators announce deal on jobless aid

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A bipartisan group of senators announced a tentative deal Thursday to extend through May jobless benefits for two million of America's long-term unemployed.

    Read more
  • Fighting the Last War

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    When discussing Hillary Clinton and her perceived position as a “shoe-in" for the Democratic nomination, someone will invariably chime in "yeah, well she looked like a sure thing in 2008 too, and look what happened there." Even the most fervent supporters of the former Secretary of State are anxious about her prospects, worried that they will once again get their hearts broken.

    Read more

Mar 13, 2014

  • Obama Makes Push for Political Solution to Crisis in Ukraine

    By Peter Baker and Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times

    President Obama and Ukraine’s interim prime minister opened the door on Wednesday to a political solution that could lead to more autonomy for Crimea if Russian troops withdraw, as the United States embarked on a last-ditch diplomatic effort to defuse a crisis that reignited tensions between East and West.

    Read more
  • Obama, Ukraine PM Warn Putin of Invasion "Cost"

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Ukraine’s prime minister, visiting President Obama in the Oval Office on Wednesday, accused Russia of seeking to invade all of Ukraine after a threatened annexation of the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula.

    Read more
  • U.S. General Warns of Perils in Leaving Afghanistan

    By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    The top American commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Al Qaeda would regroup and stage another attack on the West from Afghanistan if international troops completely withdrew from the country at the end of 2014.

    Read more
  • Obama to expand overtime pay

    With John Harwood, CNBC

    Watch more
  • Florida’s special election, beyond the talking points about what it means for the midterms

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republicans and Democrats had their talking points ready when the results of the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District rolled in Tuesday night. Republicans hailed David Jolly’s victory over Democrat Alex Sink as a sign of a big year ahead. Democrats said they were well pleased, despite the loss.

    Read more

Mar 12, 2014

  • The Senate and the CIA at War

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    How do you spy on a spy? In the case of Senate investigators, you do it by adopting some of their methods. During the five year investigation into the CIA interrogation and detention program, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, working in a windowless room at the spy agency’s headquarters, suspected that key documents had been removed from their computer network. Luckily, they had a hard copy. To keep it from being destroyed, Senate sleuths spirited the document from the CIA and put it in a safe in the Hart Senate Office Building. The move set off a chain of events that broke open on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, accused the CIA of spying on her investigators. CIA Director John Brennan insists the CIA isn’t trying to thwart her investigations. The Justice Department is now conducting two inquiries: one looking into whether the CIA illegally snooped on congressional investigators and another looking into whether those investigators broke the law. The accusations include lying to Congress and to the Justice Department, and spying on congressional investigators to hide what the CIA was doing. Frank Underwood will no doubt be weighing in soon.

    Read more
  • Ukraine’s Interim Leader Seeks Aid in Washington

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The interim prime minister of beleaguered Ukraine planned to make the rounds here on Wednesday as he seeks help bolstering his fragile government and even more fragile economy while somehow reversing Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula.

    Read more
  • Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers

    By Greg Miller, Ed O’Keefe and Adam Goldman, The Washington Post

    A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program.

    Read more
  • Obamacare Enrollment Inches Up to 4 Million

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    More than 4 million people have signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and “millions more” will sign up by the end of this month, administration officials said Tuesday.

    Read more
  • WSJ Poll: Voters Choose Bill Clinton as Endorser-in-Chief

    By Beth Reinhard and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wall Street Journal

    He’s been out of office for more than 13 years, but Bill Clinton is the still the endorser-in-chief.

    A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 37% of registered voters more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the former president, compared to 22% more likely to favor someone backed by President Barack Obama or 25% by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Read more
  • Millennials rising

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    The young are different from you and me — unless, of course, you happen to be one of them.

    If you're older than 34, I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're no longer the wave of the future. That distinction belongs to those born between 1980 and 2002, dubbed the "millennial generation" because they began to come of age at the turn of the century. They've grown up, most of them have found jobs (although that hasn't been easy) and they're a bigger, more powerful part of the electorate every year. The millennials are a major reason President Obama won reelection in 2012; if nobody under 30 had voted that year, Mitt Romney would be in the White House today.

    Read more

Mar 11, 2014

  • Rand Paul’s Preemptive Strike

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Sen. Rand Paul may not be a foreign policy hawk but he is a political one. He wrote, in a recent critique of his Republican colleagues: “What we don't need right now is politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their political careers.” Incoming! Paul was talking about grandstanding responses to the Ukraine crisis. It wasn’t a pinprick attack about a policy disagreement: Sen. Paul is claiming his rivals—ignorant to the sacrifices of war—are too cavalier about committing American troops to foreign conflicts in their rush to make names for themselves. He made this point in an essay where he also charged these performance hawks with misappropriating Ronald Reagan's legacy, a special desecration in a party where the 40th president is revered. So: ignorant, heartless, self-absorbed, reckless, and distorting history.

    Read more
  • Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday sharply accused the CIA of violating federal law and undermining the constitutional principle of congressional oversight as she detailed publicly for the first time how the agency secretly removed documents from computers used by her panel to investigate a controversial interrogation program.

    Read more
  • Kerry Postpones Russia Trip as Sanctions Loom

    With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg’s Indira Lakshmanan discusses the latest on the Ukrainian crisis.

    Watch more
  • Florida race is first test of 2014 midterms

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Tuesday's election in Florida for a U.S. House seat provides the first indication of how voters are leaning in 2014 and the effectiveness of the two parties' competing messages in this midterm election year.

    Read more
  • Senate Democrats aim ire at rich, obscure brothers

    Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Democratic Senate candidates, facing withering criticism on the national health care law, are gambling they can turn voters against two billionaire brothers funding the attacks — even if few Americans would recognize the pair on the street.

    Read more