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 22, 2014

  • Even Texas may not be big enough for four favorite sons in 2016

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The next presidential election may be more than two years away, but things are already getting awkward in the Lone Star State, where at least four potential Republican contenders have deep roots.

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  • U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms

    y William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

    A sprawling new plant here in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines.

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  • One-on-One with Ted Cruz

    With Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Full video of Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz's 2014 Texas Tribune Festival keynote conversation with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

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  • Who wins Senate control? Nov. 4 might not decide

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    A suspenseful election night is one thing, but what if it stretches out for a month? Or into next year?

    A handful of tight races in states with quirky election laws make for the headache-inducing possibility that Election Day will come and go without deciding which party controls the Senate.

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  • In Iraq, closing the gap between Obama's goal and means

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Discordant notes from the Obama administration last week were widely interpreted as a collision between a war-weary president and a gung-ho military. And it was easy to see why.

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Sep 19, 2014

  • U.S. Faces Tough Struggle on Ground to Oust ISIS

    By Michael R. Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

    The American air campaign to thwart the advance of fighters from the Islamic State has been the easy part of President Obama’s strategy in Iraq and Syria. Soon begins the next and much harder phase: rolling back their gains in Mosul, Falluja and other populated areas, which will require American advisers to train and coordinate airstrikes with Iraqi forces.

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  • Senate votes to approve Obama’s plan to fight Islamist militants

    By Paul Kane and Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    President Obama’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels exposed a deep rift Thursday among Democrats over waging war, with a large bloc of liberals staunchly opposed to the modest mission, fearing another long-term engagement in Iraq.

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  • One year after the shutdown, Republicans rally around Boehner

    By Robert Costa, The Washington Post

    House Republicans are not touting a national manifesto ahead of the midterm elections, as they did with 1994’s Contract with America. Their plan to offer a replacement for President Obama's health-care law has fizzled.

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  • An essential guide to the midterm elections

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Congress has done all that it will, which isn't much, before November's elections. Which means the venue for America's permanent partisan war for now shifts exclusively to the campaign trail.

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  • Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    The Colorado referendum on women is just 47 days away. That’s not its official title. Most people here refer to it as the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Udall and his Republican challenger, Cory Gardner. But the campaigns’ intense and protracted focus on women’s reproductive issues makes it seem like those issues are up for their own special vote.

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Sep 18, 2014

  • GOP Whip supports Obama plan – with reservations ‘At least…he’s taking a first step’

    By Ed O'Keefe and Robert Costa, The Washington Post

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) has gone from an outside voice to an inside player in less than two months. This week, he faces a critical test as the House prepares to approve a short-term spending measure that also will authorize President Obama's new military strategy for Iraq and Syria.

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  • Obama Insists No U.S. Ground Forces Will Fight ISIL

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Determined to have the final word on whether U.S. combat troops will be put on the front lines to battle Islamic State terrorists, President Obama pushed his chest over the lectern at Tampa’s U.S. Central Command headquarters Wednesday and raised his voice.

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  • What happens if Republicans win the Senate?

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    For most of the year, it seemed almost certain that Republicans would win the six additional U.S. Senate seats they need to oust the Democrats from their majority and take control of Congress.

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  • Rochester Man Mufid A. Elfgeeh Accused of Supporting ISIS Militants

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    Federal prosecutors Tuesday charged a Rochester, New York man with trying to recruit people to join the ISIS terror group overseas and to shoot people in the United States, including Shia Muslims and American military personnel returning from the Middle East.

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  • Can you pass the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test? Seven states may soon require it to graduate from high school.

    By Reid Wilson, The Washington Post

    Name one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. How many justices are on the Supreme Court? What do we call the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution?

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Sep 17, 2014

  • War on Islamic State will be long and difficult, top defense officials tell Senate

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    In their first public briefing since President Barack Obama laid out his new strategy for defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the nation’s two top defense officials on Tuesday provided few details of their plans and no guarantees of success.

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  • Vote on war against ISIS? Don't be silly

    By Gloria Borger, CNN

    We all understand that the closer Congress gets to an election, the more risk-averse it becomes. Members just want to get re-elected and aren't looking to take any chances. That's why lame-duck, post-election sessions are sadly often the most productive: Once members feel safe (or are even on their way out of office), they can actually do some real work.

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  • Obama Calls Ebola Outbreak Potential Global Security Threat

    By Angela Greiling Keane and Alex Wayne, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama said the Ebola outbreak in western Africa is spiraling out of control and the U.S. must take the lead in delivering supplies and medical personnel to stem its spread.

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  • Top Harry Reid advisers build big-money firewall to protect Senate Democrats

    By Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    If Democrats cling to their Senate majority this fall, it will be in large part because of a well-funded group connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid that has helped build a formidable firewall around vulnerable incumbents.

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  • Top Harry Reid advisers build big-money firewall to protect Senate Democrats

    By Matea Gold, The Washington Post

    If Democrats cling to their Senate majority this fall, it will be in large part because of a well-funded group connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid that has helped build a formidable firewall around vulnerable incumbents.

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