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!

Jul 12, 2013

  • Farm Bill Passes Narrowly in House, Without Food Stamp Funding

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    If Congress fails to reach agreement on food stamps, funding will be worked out as part of the normal appropriations process and will probably remain at current levels.

    The trimmed-down farm bill pleased rural Republicans, including Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman (Ind.), a fourth-generation farmer, who called the farm-only focus “a positive thing, to make sure that we have good government and good policy and that agriculture is going to be getting the attention it deserves rather than being leveraged by a welfare program.”

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  • What the Farm Bill Says About House GOP

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    The House passed a farm bill. The Senate passed an immigration bill. One might think this is a sign of a summertime thaw in the frozen gears of Congress.

    Think again.

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  • Key GOP House Chairman Open to Citizenship Path

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has long said that the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants should never get a "special" pathway to citizenship. Now, for the first time, he is saying they could get some path.

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  • Running to Stand Still

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    It is a hamster wheel-like existence we are living in D.C. these days. There’s a whole lot of activity, and yet, we’re not going anywhere at all.

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Jul 11, 2013

  • WH: Obama Alone Can't Sway House on Reform

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama may have exhausted his capacity to nudge immigration reform toward enactment this year.

    "They either are for immigration reform or they're not," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, speaking of the House GOP majority. "That'll be a choice they make."

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  • Obama and Bush Promote Benefits of Immigration

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama and former President George W. Bush found themselves on the same side of a public policy debate on Wednesday as they promoted the virtues of immigration at a time when Congress is considering rewriting the rules to accept millions here illegally.

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  • Bush’s Call for GOP to Embrace Immigration Reform Seems to Have Little Effect

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

    Former president George W. Bush, who enjoyed healthy support among Latinos during his time in office, has broken a virtual five-year silence in national politics by calling on fellow Republicans to embrace immigration reform at a time when conservatives are rebelling against the idea.

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  • No Easy Road Ahead on Immigration in GOP House

    By Alan Gomez and Susan Davis, USA Today

    House Republicans dug in their opposition to the Senate-passed immigration overhaul at a closed-door meeting Wednesday where lawmakers began mapping out a slower, piecemeal approach to immigration and border security legislation.

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  • Four decades after Roe v. Wade, views of most Americans still complex, conditional

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The absolutist voices have always dominated the abortion debate. But as it flares again in Congress and in legislatures across the country, the fight this time is heading into complicated political terrain, stirring the ambivalence that most Americans feel about the issue.

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  • A Decade After McCain-Feingold, Election Spending Spikes

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    A decade after Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold spearheaded sweeping campaign finance reform legislation, a series of judicial and legislative setbacks have derailed any hopes its original sponsors had of curbing the influence and amount of money spent on politics.

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Jul 10, 2013

  • GOP Grapples with Border Security in Immigration Bill

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Republicans in the House of Representatives say any immigration bill they pass must ensure that the nation's Southwest border with Mexico is secured before any process can begin for undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship.

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  • The Immigration Impasse

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    On Tuesday, William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, wrote a rare joint editorial denouncing the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform plan. They said it was full of loopholes and exceptions that would do nothing to end illegal immigration. Republican Senators had signed on to the bill fueled by a "panic" about attracting Hispanic voters. House Republicans, they argued, should not only refuse to vote on the Senate bill, they should refuse to join a conference committee where their version could be melded with the impure Senate’s product. Republicans should shelve immigration reform until after the 2014 election, they argued. What's the rush?

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  • GOP Redistricting Skills May Hurt Immigration Push

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Republicans' knack for congressional redistricting helps them control the U.S. House, but it may be working against them on immigration changes that national GOP leaders see as critical to the next presidential election.

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  • Senate Poised to Fail -- Again -- on a Student Loan Fix

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    The Senate will vote Wednesday on a Democratic plan to scale back federally subsidized student loan rates, which doubled on July 1, but the proposal lacks enough support required to pass, leaving a divided Congress no closer to compromise.

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  • Live From the Oval Office: A Backdrop of History Fades From TV

    By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times

    At historic moments in the television age, past American presidents turned to the Oval Office as their stage.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy interrupted prime-time shows to tell Americans from the Oval Office why they had ordered troops to desegregate schools. Bill Clinton broke into programming from behind the presidential desk three times in a month to explain military actions in Haiti and Iraq. Ronald Reagan, the telegenic former actor, set the record for evening addresses from the Oval Office desk: 29 over two terms.

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  • New Players, Snowden Change U.S.-China Dynamics

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    More than a dozen U.S. officials meet with more than a dozen of Chinese counterparts Wednesday and Thursday in the fifth round of the Strategic & Economic Dialogue talks. So how is this round different from earlier ones? In at least three ways.

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  • Why Eliot Spitzer Could Derail Anthony Weiner's Comeback

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    As calls were mounting for Anthony Weiner to quit Congress in the wake of his sexting scandal, a prominent voice joined the fray: former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who had reinvented himself as a CNN talk show host after a prostitution scandal led to his resignation three years earlier.

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Jul 09, 2013

  • U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan

    By Mark Mazzetti and Ma, The New York Times

    Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.

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  • Obama Administration Rules Out Suspension of Aid to Egypt in Near Term

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The White House on Monday ruled out an immediate suspension of American assistance to Egypt after the military seized power. It hoped to use its financial leverage to press for the prompt restoration of a democratic government and to head off further violence.

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  • NSA Leaks Focus New Attention On Government Contractors

    By Tom Gjelten, NPR

    By some estimates, half of the U.S. government's intelligence spending goes to private contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton. Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, says he took a job at Booz Allen because he saw it as the best place to gather the intelligence secrets he wanted to expose. Some members of Congress say the episode underscores the need for greater oversight of intelligence contractors and they are calling for hearings into the matter.

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