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 26, 2013

  • The March on Washington’s Unfinished Agenda

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    In the way history can be conflated, the March on Washington has been reduced to a few vivid images. One is the size of the gathering, with photos showing a crowd flowing from the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and stretching the length of the Reflecting Pool and beyond. The other and most iconic by far is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech, which continues to echo powerfully 50 years on.

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  • On MLK Anniversary, Black Numbers Are Up in Congress, but Power Is Down

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago this week, just five African-Americans held seats in Congress. There are 44 today.

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Aug 23, 2013

  • Obama Officials Weigh Response to Syria Assault

    By Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti and Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times

    The day after a deadly assault in Syria that bore many of the hallmarks of a chemical weapons attack, a sharply divided Obama administration on Thursday began weighing potential military responses to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

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  • Snags Slow Formation of Surveillance Review Group

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama’s decision to create a new expert group to weigh national security surveillance, government secret-keeping, and the public trust has prompted internal headaches, leaks, and plenty of second-guessing from critics.

    “This investigation, run out of the executive [branch], certainly can’t come to any unbiased conclusions” about government access to Americans’ phone and email communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Analyst Mark Jaycox told RCP. “It’s time for Congress to exert its own powers as a coequal branch of government and leave no stone unturned.”

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  • Boehner Proposes ‘Short-Term’ Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    House Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that he plans to avert a government shutdown at the end of September by passing a “short-term” budget bill that maintains sharp automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

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  • The Movement to Defund Obamacare, Explained

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The Tea Party has a new obsession: killing Obamacare by stripping the funding needed to implement the law. Thirteen Republican senators have signed on to the effort, which would likely lead to a government shutdown, since Democrats and President Obama are unlikely to agree to gut the president's signature domestic achievement.

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  • What the DOJ decision means for Texas’ congressional delegation

    By Ed O'Keefe and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

    The Justice Department announced plans Thursday to challenge Republican-drawn redistricting plans in Texas, launching another round in a years-long legal fight over voting rights between the Obama administration and the Lone Star State.

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  • There'll Be A Democratic Primary. With Or Without Hillary

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    When people find out what I do for a living, the first question they inevitably ask is "Is Hillary running?" When I answer that I think she will, the follow up is almost always: "Will anyone run against her?" My answer is, of course. Why wouldn't they?

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Aug 22, 2013

  • Egyptian Turmoil Continues with Mubarak’s Pending Release, More Arrests

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers

    During the latter half of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule, those who suggested rising up against him often would be reminded of an Egyptian phrase, “The one you know is better than the one you don’t know,” referring to Mubarak’s potential replacement.

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  • FISA Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The National Security Agency illegally collected emails of tens of thousands of Americans. The numbers are revealed in a newly declassified secret court opinion. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found the collection of those emails unconstitutional and ordered the NSA to fix the problem.

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  • Newly Released Tapes Show Nixon Maneuvering as Watergate Unfolds

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Just hours after a national address promising “no whitewash” of Watergate, President Richard M. Nixon privately urged his new attorney general not to appoint a special prosecutor and suggested that a former aide avoid questions by asserting national security.

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  • When Reagan Called Nixon About Watergate

    With Dan Balz, Washington Post

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  • Is a College Degree Still Affordable?

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    In an interview with WSJ's David Wessel, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities President Peter McPherson discusses the rising costs of a college degree and whether higher education is keeping pace with new forms of learning.

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  • Report: Long-Term Education Investments Lead to Higher Wages

    By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

    Legislators looking for the best returns on budget investments should focus their efforts on education spending, which in turn leads to higher productivity and higher wages, according to a new report released Thursday morning.

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Aug 21, 2013

  • Egyptian Prime Minister Says He Does 'Not Fear Civil War'

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Obama Meets With Security Team on Egypt

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama convened a White House meeting Tuesday afternoon with his national security advisers to discuss the violence in Egypt and the status of U.S. assistance to that turmoil-filled nation, spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed.

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  • Texas Sen. Cruz Shrugs Off Canadian Citizenship

    By Charles Babington and Will Weissert, Associated Press

    Sen. Ted Cruz, seemingly eyeing a presidential run in 2016, calls his renunciation of Canadian citizenship no big deal, even though questions about candidates' birthplaces have flared in recent elections.

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  • A Better Way to Save for Retirement?

    By Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

    Declaring the nation’s private-sector retirement system “broken,” the Center for American Progress is adding its voice to the growing call for a new kind of investment vehicle to shore up retirement security for workers.

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  • UAW president to speak at MLK event in D.C.

    By David Shepardson, Detroit News

    United Auto Workers President Bob King will speak Saturday at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Aug 20, 2013

  • U.S. Reconsiders Weapons Supply, Aid to Egypt

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg News' Julianna Goldman reports that five weapons programs provided by the United States to Egypt are under review as pressure increases on the U.S. government to end military aid to the nation after violent unrest.

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