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!

Aug 05, 2014

  • Abortion Rights Are Like Gun Rights: Judge

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    In temporarily blocking an Alabama law that restricted access to abortion, a federal judge said "the right to decide to have an abortion and the right to have and use firearms for self-defense" have a great deal in common.

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  • Medicare Reduces Payments for 2015 Hospital Admissions

    By Alex Wayne, Bloomberg News

    Medicare, the U.S. program for the elderly and disabled, said payments for hospital admissions would fall $756 million next year as penalties stiffen for patients who return too early.

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  • Remembering James S. Brady

    By Todd S. Purdum, Politico

    He performed the day-to-day job of White House press secretary for barely two months, but there is good reason why Jim Brady held that title for all eight years of the Reagan administration — and why the White House Briefing Room is named in his honor today.

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Aug 04, 2014

  • Ebola crisis alters agenda for African summit in Washington

    By Christi Parsons, Tribune Newspapers

    With about 50 African leaders coming to town for a summit and massive gala dinner at the White House this week, the Obama administration had to adjust for a last-minute party spoiler: the deadly Ebola virus.

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  • GOP still struggles to find immigration strategy

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republicans can't figure out what to do about illegal immigration as the 2016 presidential campaign is starting to heat up and just three months before midterm elections.

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  • Obama Weighing Executive Action on Immigration

    By Jeff Zeleny and Chris Good, ABC News

    With Congress unwilling and unable to reach an agreement on how to address the nation’s rising immigration dilemma, President Obama is studying a range of actions that he could take to ease the humanitarian crisis at the border and begin tackling broader immigration reform, administration and congressional officials tell ABC News.

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  • Obama Backs CIA Chief John Brennan

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama said U.S. intelligence officials “crossed a line” after the 9/11 attacks and “tortured some folks” during the George W. Bush administration, conclusions he said on Friday will be described in a long-awaited report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, portions of which he and his counsels have agreed to declassify.

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  • Q&A: U.S. Justice Ginsburg on Hobby Lobby, gay marriage, retirement

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was not just defiant about calls for her retirement. A former women's rights advocate appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg also had plenty to say about how the Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision highlighted a gender gap among her fellow justices, why gay marriage will continue to face court challenges, and why a woman might not be her ideal successor. Excerpts:

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Aug 01, 2014

  • Republicans deliver another self-inflicted wound

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republicans may yet win the elections in November. They may end up in control of both houses of Congress come January. But in the final week before a lengthy August recess, they have shown a remarkable capacity to complicate their path to victory.

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  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is a rising Republican power in House, as well as a whip

    By Robert Costa, The Washington Post

    The beginning of the collapse of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s border bill came Wednesday evening, when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gathered more than a dozen House Republicans at his office in the Dirksen building on Capitol Hill.

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  • Inquiry by C.I.A. Affirms It Spied on Senate Panel

    By Mark Mazzetti and Carl Hulse, The New York Times

    An internal investigation by the C.I.A. has found that its officers penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its damning report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program.

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  • Obama's latest executive order aimed at labor law violations

    By Christi Parsons, Tribune Newspapers

    Saying he won’t let the threat of a Republican lawsuit “stop me from doing what needs to be done,” President Obama signed a new executive order Thursday designed to make it tougher for companies to win federal contracts if they violate workers’ rights.

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  • U.S. Justice Ginsburg hits back at liberals who want her to retire

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a message for liberals who have been saying the 81-year-old should step down while Democratic President Barack Obama is in office so he can appoint her successor: Who are you going to get who will be better than me?

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Jul 31, 2014

  • White House condemns shelling of U.N. school in Gaza

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    The White House condemned the shelling Wednesday of a United Nations school in Gaza, issuing a carefully worded statement that avoided any mention of where the shells came from, despite the strong likelihood that it was Israeli fire.

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  • Tea party opposition puts fate of House Republican border bill up in the air

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

    The fate of a Republican proposal to address a brewing immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border was cast into doubt Wednesday after a tea party senator lobbied against it to House members.

  • How Paul Ryan plans to tackle poverty, without cutting spending

    By John Harwood, CNBC

    Rep. Paul Ryan wants to change his image.

    The Wisconsin Republican gained a national reputation early on in President Barack Obama's administration as a fearless deficit hawk battling to cut government spending—a profile that helped him win the vice presidential nomination on Mitt Romney's 2012 ticket.

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  • Obama Administration Enters Battle over Ohio and Wisconsin Voting

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The Justice Department today joined legal disputes over new voting rules in Wisconsin and Ohio — restrictions that Attorney General Eric Holder called "misguided attempts to fix a system that isn't broken.”

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  • Health-care gains rise for hospitals, insurers as patients pay

    By Alex Wayne and Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg News

    Even as the new health-care law continues to be attacked by foes and challenged in court, hospital chains and insurers are making more money, more patients using ERs are paying for their care, and the country as a whole is enjoying slower growth in its health-care spending.

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Jul 30, 2014

  • House Republicans propose plan to deal with border crisis

    By David Nakamura and Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    House Republicans proposed a legislative solution to the growing border crisis Tuesday that would make it easier to deport Central American minors who have entered the United States illegally. The proposal also would give the Obama administration much less emergency funding than it requested to deal with the crisis.

  • Speaker Boehner Shoots Down Impeachment Talk, Blasts Democrats for Pushing It

    By Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    Speaker John Boehner shot down talk of impeachment once again today -- raising his voice as he blamed Democrats for trying to push the idea for political gain.

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