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!

May 13, 2013

  • Did IRS Target Tea Party Groups?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • Chairman of Benghazi Board Defends Its Decision Not to Question Clinton

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    The State Department board that reviewed last year’s attack on a diplomatic outpost in Libya never questioned Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state at the time, because it had already decided responsibility lay below her level, the board’s chairman said Sunday.

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  • Cyberattacks Against U.S. Corporations Are on the Rise

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

    A new wave of cyberattacks is striking American corporations, prompting warnings from federal officials, including a vague one issued last week by the Department of Homeland Security. This time, officials say, the attackers’ aim is not espionage but sabotage, and the source seems to be somewhere in the Middle East.

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  • House to Tackle Student-Loan Rates

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    Last year they were blindsided. This year they are ready. House Republicans are preparing to pass legislation that would remedy, once and for all, the looming problem of student-loan interest rates. The fixed rate for need-based loans of 3.4 percent is set to double on July 1 unless Congress acts.

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May 10, 2013

  • Obama to Invoke Moms in Pitch for Health Exchanges

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    At the White House Friday, President Obama will help celebrate Mother’s Day with an event touting the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while encouraging moms to cajole the young, healthy and uninsured members of their families to buy health coverage through new marketplaces that will be available to them after Oct. 1.

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  • Obamacare Déjà Vu: Yet Another House Vote Set

    By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

    Congress is poised to take a vote–again–to repeal the nation’s new health care law next week.

    It will be the 37th time, according to Congressional officials, that such a vote has taken place. It is not only a symbolic effort by House Republicans, it’s also a case of political déjà vu.

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  • Entitlements' Unimpeded Growth Is Boon To Seniors

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    With Congress increasingly unable to resolve budget disputes, federal programs on automatic pilot are consuming ever larger amounts of government resources. The trend helps older Americans, who receive the bulk of Social Security and Medicare benefits, at the expense of younger people.

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  • Pres. Obama Kicks Off Jobs Tour

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • As Hispanic Vote Lags, Millions of Votes Left on the Table

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal

    The electorate that turned out in November to give President Obama a second term is nearly as diverse as the U.S. population at large, according to new data released by the Census Bureau this week. But the nation's fastest-growing minority group isn't experiencing the kind of explosive growth of political power that other ethnic groups have felt.

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  • As Hispanic Vote Lags, Millions of Votes Left on the Table

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal

    The electorate that turned out in November to give President Obama a second term is nearly as diverse as the U.S. population at large, according to new data released by the Census Bureau this week. But the nation's fastest-growing minority group isn't experiencing the kind of explosive growth of political power that other ethnic groups have felt.

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  • GOP Senators’ Assault Shows Tough Path for Immigration Measure

    By Ed O’Keefe and David Nakamura, Washington Post

    The difficult road ahead for comprehensive immigration reform became more evident Thursday as Republican critics mounted a sustained assault on the legislation, demanding that it include considerably greater border security measures before legalizing any undocumented immigrants.

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May 09, 2013

  • Dems: GOP Fails to Show Scandal in Benghazi Deaths

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Politicians love few things better than a scandal to trip up their opponents, and Republicans hope last year's fatal attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya will do exactly that to Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats.

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  • Lawmakers Seek Public Support for Tax Overhaul

    Susan Davis, USA Today

    The top two tax writers on Capitol Hill want to overhaul the federal tax code for the first time since 1986 and they are soliciting help from the public to help get it done.

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  • Economists See Deficit Emphasis as Impeding Recovery

    By Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times

    The nation’s unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011, according to private-sector and government economists.

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  • Deficit-Cutting: Not If, But When

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

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  • The Enemy Within

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    Every Friday, on a grassy parade ground ringed by vintage warplanes, a freshly minted class of airmen takes the oath of duty and is officially “welcomed into the blue.” Young men and women who arrived at basic training as confused and frightened individuals seven weeks earlier march by the reviewing stand in precise formation. Nowhere is the U.S. military’s unique alchemy—turning unformed young citizens into a warrior fraternity—on clearer display.

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  • Inside The American Crossroads And Koch Post-Mortems

    By Reid Wilson, National Journal's Hotline

    At a ritzy California hotel two weeks ago, donors who had spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to defeat President Obama watched presentations from strategists tasked with illustrating why they had failed. The gathering had the atmosphere of a corporate retreat, where only the presenters wore suits. Everyone had a name tag, some pinned to T-shirts that read: "I'm a Koch Brother."

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May 08, 2013

  • Paris, South Carolina

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Mark Sanford's long walk has ended. From the South Carolina governor's office to the Appalachian Trail to Argentina and back, he has returned to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Political victory has redemptive powers and so Sanford now has a chance to write a new chapter in his personal history. Whatever may become of him in Washington, he has already changed the shape of Republican politics in South Carolina. The state that is home to Bob Jones University and where residents still resist removing the Confederate flag from over the state house is now defining the new standard for forgiving personal indiscretions.

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  • Ex-South Carolina Governor Sanford Beats Colbert Busch in Special House Election

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The conservative electorate of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District voted Tuesday to resurrect the political career of disgraced former governor Mark Sanford (R) by returning him to his former House seat.

    Sanford’s special-election race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, 58, a businesswoman and first-time candidate, took twists nearly right up to the last moments. But in the end, he cruised to an easy victory, winning 54 percent of the vote to Colbert Busch’s 45 percent.

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  • Internet Sales Tax Faces Hurdles in GOP House

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A bill to allow states to collect taxes from online sales cruised through the Senate Monday with bipartisan support, but the legislation faces a slower, more complicated path through the GOP-controlled House.

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