The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click the headlines for more.
CNN: Congress reaches final payroll tax deal
Congressional negotiators resolved all differences on an agreement to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while avoiding a fee cut for Medicare doctors for the rest of the year, leaving only technical issues to sort out.
CNN: CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark
President Barack Obama's approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in more than eight months, and he currently holds an edge against all the remaining Republican presidential candidates in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, according to a new national survey.
CNN: FCC approves new limits on automated telemarketing calls
The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules Wednesday to further limit automatically dialed or prerecorded calls know as "robocalls" and automated text messages.
CNN: House Republicans delay vote on transportation bill
House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus Wednesday that the House will postpone voting on a massive transportation and energy bill until after the congressional recess scheduled for next week, according to multiple House Republican leadership aides.
CNN: Whitney Houston's funeral Saturday will be broadcast
Saturday's funeral for legendary pop singer Whitney Houston is expected to be made available for television and web streaming from the New Jersey church where she grew up, Houston's publicist said Wednesday.
CNN: Pentagon eyeing future cuts to nuclear arsenal
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday expressed dismay at the Obama administration's consideration of a major reduction in America's nuclear arsenal.
CNN: U.S. officials tell Jewish groups to be vigilant because of Iran tensions
With tensions between Iran and the West running high, law enforcement officials are concerned Iran or its surrogates could mount attacks against Jewish targets inside the United States - but there is no specific information that any plots are in the works, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by CNN.
CNN: Mormons apologize for posthumous baptisms of Wiesenthal's parents
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for "a serious breach of protocol" in which the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized as Mormons.
CNN: Syria constitution vote called 'window dressing'
The embattled Syrian president announced a constitutional referendum Wednesday as his forces pummeled Homs and other towns where people cried out for his regime to end.
CNN: Libyan militias 'out of control,' Amnesty International says
Armed militias in Libya are committing human rights abuses with impunity, threatening to destabilize the country and hindering its efforts to rebuild, Amnesty International said Thursday.
CNN: China's presumed heir apparent makes nostalgic trip to Iowa
When the man destined to become China's next leader enters a circa 1866 Victorian house in Muscatine, Iowa, on Wednesday, things will feel familiar. It was here in the town's historic district that Xi Jinping first feasted on Iowa beef and corn during a visit more than two decades ago.
CNN: Iran boasts nuclear progress
Iran flaunted a new generation of centrifuges and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle Wednesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, clad in a white lab coat, was on hand to load domestically made fuel rods into the core of a Tehran reactor.
CNN Money: Buffett Rule: Not ready for prime time
The Buffett Rule makes for great stump speeches in an election year. But as tax policy it leaves much to be desired.
CNN Money: Stocks drop as Greece worries persist
U.S. stocks closed lower Wednesday as the euro hit a 1-week low on uncertainty over Greece's debt problems.
CNN Money: Santorum took in $3.6M in four years; highest tax rate was 28.3%
Rick Santorum’s latest four years of tax returns show he earned more than a total of $3.6 million, according to spokeswoman Alice Stewart.
In Case You Missed It…
The Obama administration wants to alter the way some coins are made to help offset costs. Athena Jones reports.