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 16, 2013

  • In Second Term, Obama Is Seen as Using ‘Hidden Hand’ Approach

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    In the nearly two weeks since Egypt’s military seized power, President Obama has promoted a better federal bureaucracy, given a medal to George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame and had former President George Bush to the White House for lunch. What he has not done is publicly address the violent upheaval in Cairo.

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  • Obama Takes Immigration Case to Latino TV

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama, dubbed the "outside cheerleader" by Senate Republicans who hope Congress can pass immigration reform this year, will try to reassure Latinos today that he is working intensively to get reluctant House Republicans to budge.

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  • Seib & Wessel: Tackling ‘Too Big to Fail’ Banks

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    WSJ’s Deborah Solomon explains how U.S. regulators are trying to lick the “too big to fail” problem by making it more costly for banks to stay big -- as Republicans and Democrats in Congress eye even more steps

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Jul 15, 2013

  • George Zimmerman Civil Suit Could Be Next

    With Pierre Thomas, ABC News

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  • Get a Room

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    When the bipartisan machine breaks down, it collapses in ways that can be seen and unseen. The saga of the farm bill gives us examples of both. For the last 40 years, the bill has passed through an unofficial agreement between urban liberals and rural conservatives. The former got funding for food stamps and the latter got farm subsidies. Yesterday, the farm bill passed the House without this deal in place. For the first time since the 1970s, the bill did not include funding for food stamps. No Democrats voted for it. The jalopy of bipartisanship has been going through a prolonged collapse. Still, it's notable when the usual death rattle is augmented by a convulsion that throws off a wheel.

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  • By Changing Tactics, Antiabortion Movement Seizes Momentum

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Abortion opponents have turned to different tactics since the Supreme Court legalized most abortions half a century ago, from imposing 24-hour waiting periods to banning late-term procedures to requiring minors to get permission.

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  • Filibusters, Food Stamps and the Congressional Week to Come

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Senate leaders have sparred repeatedly in recent weeks — and Sunday on “Meet the Press” — over a threatened change to the rules in the U.S. Senate. The latest verbal spat between Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended with Reid announcing plans to use a party-line vote to change the Senate’s rules so that Executive Branch nominees can be confirmed by a simple majority.

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  • No Quick Impact in U.S. Arms Plan for Syria Rebels

    By Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt, and Erin Banco, The New York Times

    A month ago Obama administration officials promised to deliver arms and ammunition to the Syrian rebels in the hope of reversing the tide of a war that had turned against an embattled opposition.

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  • What If Bernanke Could Be Blunt

    By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    Ben Bernanke has caused a bit of a stir in the markets for talking so much in the past few weeks. He’ll be at it again this week, testifying in the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.

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Jul 12, 2013

  • First Take: Immigration was key in Napolitano's tenure

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    When trying to size up the four-year tenure of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, look no further than a February hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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  • Senators Squabble Over Reid's Threat to Limit Debate

    Susan Davis, USA Today

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set the U.S. Senate on a potentially chamber-altering course for next week, pledging to use his power to change Senate rules to push through President Obama's executive branch nominations despite furious opposition from Republicans.

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  • Abortion Politics: Winning the Middle

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    In state legislatures across the country, the battle over abortion rights is raging once again.

    But what neither side of the abortion debate seems to want to acknowledge is that there is a middle ground on the issue. The problem for both of them: The middle is where you can find the vast majority of Americans, who see the abortion issue not as a battle, but as a balance.

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  • In Congress All Politics Getting Personal

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • 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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