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: Supreme Court set to make ruling on polarizing health care law
The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday on the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law championed by President Barack Obama, in a hotly awaited decision that is bound to divide the country. The stakes cannot be overstated: what the justices decide will have an immediate and long-term impact on all Americans, both in how they get medicine and health care, and also in vast, yet unknown areas of "commerce."
CNN: House to vote on holding Attorney General Holder in contempt
The U.S. House will vote Thursday on holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents involving the failed Fast and Furious weapons crackdown. "We're going to proceed," Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday. "We've given them ample opportunity to reply."
CNN: Obama buys Olympic ad time
While Mitt Romney is expected to be a spectator at this summer's Olympic Games, those watching from home may see President Barack Obama, thanks to a large ad buy. Obama's reelection campaign has bought $6.5 million of U.S. national advertizing time for the London games, a Republican ad buying source told CNN.
CNN: Congress strikes tentative deal on highway bill, sources say
After months of difficult talks, bipartisan House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative deal on a giant transportation funding bill Wednesday, multiple sources tell CNN. A formal announcement is expected late Wednesday night after the last details are hammered out and the final language is drafted, they said.
CNN: California city to become largest to file bankruptcy
The California city of Stockton approved a special budget Tuesday night, paving the way for it to become the largest American city to declare bankruptcy. "Unfortunately, we have no comprehensive set of agreements with our creditors to offer you ... that would eliminate the $26 million budget deficit and avoid insolvency," City Manager Bob Deis said at a council meeting.
CNN: Calmer winds may aid Colorado firefighters in epic battle
Calming winds could help Colorado firefighters gain ground Thursday on an explosive wildfire that has devoured more than 15,500 acres and chased 36,000 people from their homes near Colorado Springs. The development would be welcome news to crews that have been battling erratic winds since early in the week.
CNN: Air Force base reports more sexual misconduct charges
Two more trainers at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas have been charged with sexual misconduct with cadets they trained, Air Force officials said Wednesday, in a growing scandal being investigated across multiple Air Force bases.
CNN: Investigator: Zimmerman missed opportunities to defuse situation
George Zimmerman failed to identify himself twice during a confrontation with Trayvon Martin and missed opportunities to defuse the situation that led to the death of the teen, a detective says in a newly released report. Zimmerman, who served as a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Martin, 17, in Sanford, Florida.
CNN: Queen makes history with ex-IRA leader handshake
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland. The handshake came 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen's cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.
CNN: U.S. faces deadline to sanction China over Iran
The United States faces a deadline Thursday of deciding whether to issue a waiver to China and other purchasers of Iranian oil, or move to cut them off from the U.S. financial system as punishment for not reducing their purchases of Iranian crude by significant amounts.
CNN: TV station in Syria bombed; report finds growing 'contours of an insurrection'
Bombers killed at least seven people at a pro-regime Syrian satellite channel Wednesday, the government said, as world diplomats were making another try at ending the violence raging across the country. "Terrorists planted explosive devices" in the headquarters of al-Ikhbaria, near Damascus, killing three journalists and four security guards, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported. The attackers also ransacked and destroyed studios, the news outlet said.
CNN: Iraqi PM warns of early vote
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday warned that he could call for early elections, following a string of political crises since the U.S. withdrawal in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation. "When the other side refuses to sit at the table of dialogue and insists on the policy of provoking successive crises in a way that causes severe damages to the supreme interests of Iraqi people, the prime minister found himself obliged to call for early elections," the statement said.
CNNMoney: Stocks finish higher on U.S. data
Stock markets closed with solid gains Wednesday following strong reports on durable goods and housing, but worries over the EU summit remain front and center. The Dow Jones industrial average added 92 points, or 0.7%, the S&P 500 rose 12 points, or 0.9%, and the Nasdaq gained 21 points, or 0.7%.
CNNMoney: Microsoft stuck with $1 billion fine in European antitrust case
Microsoft is stuck paying a $1 billion fine for an antitrust ruling handed down in 2008, after a European court on Wednesday rejected the company's long-running appeal. Microsoft was charged in 2004 with refusing to make "certain interoperability information" available to competitors between 1998 and 2004. That kept rivals' products from working with Windows' server software.
CNNMoney: Madoff's brother pleads guilty, faces 10 years' jail
Peter Madoff will plead guilty on Friday to conspiracy and falsifying records in connection with his older brother's infamous Ponzi scheme, according to a court filing from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Peter, the former chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, "agrees not to seek a sentence other than 10 years' imprisonment," Bharara said in a letter to Judge Laura Taylor Swain.
In case you missed it…
Mitt Romney once sounded support for a national insurance mandate. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.