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 06, 2013

  • Come Together Now

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Sequestration represents a kind of excellence in failure. Lawmakers in Washington couldn’t even design a sword of Damocles correctly. This is depressing, and suggests even the most basic tasks are beyond the reach of our lawmakers. As a result, a lot of people appear particularly glum, as if they gave up optimism for Lent. But what if you decided to embrace hope during the Easter season? Is there any evidence that there could be a rebirth of common sense and progress?

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  • Seeking a Budget Deal, Obama Reaches Out to Republican Rank and File

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

    After more than two years of failed negotiations with GOP leaders, President Obama is for the first time reaching out directly to rank-and-file Republicans who have expressed a willingness to strike a far-reaching budget deal that includes higher taxes.

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  • Congress may add flexibility to sequester cuts

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Lawmakers may use a must-pass funding bill as a vehicle to inject more flexibility into the way across-the-board spending cuts are implemented since the reductions kicked in last Friday.

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  • John Kerry Concedes Iran Is Moving Closer to Possessing Nuclear Weapon

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Rivalries And Infighting Could Follow In Wake Of Chavez's Death

    By Tom Gjelten and Audie Cornish, NPR

    Audie Cornish talks to Tom Gjelten about what's next for Venezuela after President Hugo Chavez's death. He died Tuesday at the age of 58.

    Listen here
  • The Mighty Jeb Bush Comes Down to Earth

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    What has gotten into Jeb Bush?

    As two-term governor of Florida, he prided himself on “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” or “BHAGs,” such as pushing private-school vouchers for kids in failing public schools and doing away with affirmative action in state contracts and university admissions. He didn’t balk at taking unpopular positions against smaller class sizes or in favor of government intervention to prolong the life of a severely brain-damaged woman. Bush didn’t shy from defying his party, either, coming out in favor of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and rejecting Republican antitax dogma. He was bold, principled, and infuriating, inspiring near adulation from a Republican establishment weary of trying to appease the conservative grassroots. That he passed up opportunities to run for higher office and devoted himself to an educational think tank only enhanced his stature as policy-obsessed statesman in a world of political hacks.

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Mar 05, 2013

  • Obama, Congress Take Wait-and-Blame Approach on Budget

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress are taking a wait-and-blame approach as automatic, across-the-board spending cuts begin to trickle through the federal government -- cuts that weren’t intended to take effect.

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  • Republican Goal to Balance Budget Could Mean Deep Cuts to Health Programs

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    Anxiety is rising among House Republicans about a strategy of appeasement toward fiscal hard-liners that could require them to embrace not only the sequester but also sharp new cuts to federal health and retirement programs.

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  • John Kerry Blasts Russia for Aiding Syrian Government

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Jeb Bush's Poorly Timed Flip -Flop on Immigration

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s new book was aimed at nudging a reluctant Republican Party toward reforms that would allow illegal immigrants to live and work without fear of deportation.

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  • Big Banks: Too Big to Jail?

    With Eamon Javers, CNBC

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Mar 04, 2013

  • To Obama, GOP's Opposition Is Personal

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    So deeply ingrained is the animus aimed at Barack Obama that conservative lawmakers would rather put Americans out of work, sabotage valuable contracts for small businesses, and eject preschoolers from Head Start classrooms rather than give the president a legislative “win.”

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  • Obama, Congress Take Wait-and-Blame Approach on Budget

    By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers are taking a wait-and-blame approach as automatic, across-the-board spending cuts begin to trickle through the federal government -- cuts that were never intended to take effect.

    Read more
  • Do-Nothing Congress Does Something

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    OK, so Congress hasn't managed to pass a budget, fix the tax code or avert the automatic spending cuts of the dreaded "sequester."

    Are they getting anything done on Capitol Hill? Yes, and you'll probably be surprised to hear where progress is being made: gun control.

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  • As Hacking Against U.S. Rises, Experts Try to Pin Down Motive

    By David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Eric Schmidt, The New York Times

    When Telvent, a company that monitors more than half the oil and gas pipelines in North America, discovered last September that the Chinese had hacked into its computer systems, it immediately shut down remote access to its clients’ systems.

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  • Kerry Tells Morsi That Egypt Must Change Before U.S. Will Send More Aid

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed Sunday to provide $190 million to help Egypt’s government pay its bills, but said any additional money would require that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi move quickly to resolve the country’s differences with the International Monetary Fund, reform its security services and take steps to provide equal rights for women and religious minorities.

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Mar 01, 2013

  • Seib & Wessel: Sperling on Sequestration Pain

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Gene Sperling, a top White House economic adviser, tells the WSJ's David Wessel that the sequester's painful cuts are so drastic they will succeed in bringing both Democrats and Republicans back to the negotiating table.

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  • For Obama and Congress, It's Zero Hour

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Tick, tick, tick . . .

    Friday is the end of the hourglass for President Obama and congressional leaders. They will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss an impasse that has bedeviled them since January, trying -- for the cameras, at least -- to find a way “to reduce our deficit in a balanced way,” as Obama put it Thursday.

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  • Cuts Roll In as Time Runs Out

    By Janet Hook and Damian Paletta, Wall Street Journal

    The federal government enters a controversial new phase of deficit cutting Friday, as an automatic trigger begins slicing budgets in some areas while leaving programs such as Medicare and Medicaid—among the largest drivers of future debt—largely untouched.

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  • Obama Meets Congressional Leaders on Sequester

    By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post

    Congressional leaders gathered at the White House on Friday to meet with President Obama on ways to avoid the steep budget cuts known as the sequester, but expectations for the meeting were low.

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