The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Obama calls Boehner, Reid to push two-month payroll tax extension
President Barack Obama called House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday as part of an ongoing - and so far unsuccessful - effort to resolve a partisan standoff over how best to extend the expiring payroll tax cut, according to the White House.
CNN: Senate Republican frustration mounting with House GOP
The House GOP is coming under increasing fire from fellow Republicans in the Senate for the payroll tax standoff with Democrats – which many in the GOP see as a growing political debacle.
CNN: Pro-Romney super PAC slams Gingrich
It's not the Occupy Wall Street protesters yelling "mic check" who are bugging Newt Gingrich at his events these days. It's the attack ads occupying the airwaves in Iowa.
CNN: Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters
Presidential candidate Ron Paul was defensive Wednesday when pressed about controversial newsletters in the 1980s and 1990s that were in his name.
CNN: Soldiers just back from Iraq get new orders: Afghanistan
Soldiers who just returned from Iraq are among several thousand being ordered to Afghanistan in six months as part of a mission designed to beef up Afghan forces ahead of a planned 2014 U.S. military withdrawal, officials said.
CNN: Bradley Manning defense calls only 2 witnesses
After four days of testimony and 20 prosecution witnesses, Pfc. Bradley Manning's defense attorney spent only 35 minutes Wednesday questioning just two witnesses before resting their case.
CNN: How investigators might approach FAMU death
More than a month after the death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, investigators are still piecing together what happened that night aboard the band's charter bus. Their work will determine who among the busload of band members will be held responsible for his death.
CNN: Suspect extradited in death of U.S. immigration agent
An alleged Mexican drug cartel operative has been extradited to the United States to face charges in the death of one U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and the attempted murder of a second, authorities said Wednesday.
CNN: New North Korean leader issued military orders, South Korea says
Kim Jong Un issued his first military orders as leader of North Korea just before the death of his father was announced, a South Korean state-run news agency said Wednesday.
CNN: Syrian opposition cites regime 'acts of genocide'
Syria's major opposition group condemned Bashar al-Assad's regime Wednesday for "brutal massacres" this week and urged the U.N. Security Council to protect civilians against "acts of genocide."
CNN: 24 killed since election results announced in Congo, rights group says
Democratic Republic of Congo security forces have killed more than 24 people and arbitrarily detained dozens more since President Joseph Kabila was announced the winner of the disputed president elections on December 9, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
CNN: Finland investigating Patriot missiles aboard China-bound ship
Finnish authorities have launched an investigation after impounding 69 Patriot missiles from a ship bound for China.
CNN Money: BofA settles unfair lending claims for $335 million
The Justice Department announced a $335 million settlement with Bank of America Wednesday over discriminatory lending practice at Countrywide Financial.
CNN Money: Nasdaq falls 1% but Dow and S&P inch higher
Nasdaq couldn't shake the software blues. The Dow and S&P 500 ended the day barely in positive territory, after falling nearly 1% on fears over the health of European banks and worse-than-expected readings on the housing market continued to trouble the markets.
CNN Money: Medicare doctors fed up with Washington
The payroll tax impasse in Congress has put Medicare doctors on edge over the likelihood that their pay could be slashed 27.4% in two weeks time.
In Case You Missed It…
Children send letters to President Obama asking him to stop deportations in the U.S. CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.