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: Would more tea party-backed senators mean more gridlock?
Texas GOP upstart Ted Cruz claimed victory Tuesday with a familiar tea party rallying cry. "Millions of Texans and Americans are rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution," he told supporters. A 41-year-old, first-time candidate, Cruz walloped the well-funded Republican establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary runoff. He did so by vowing to stand by his tea party principles.
CNN: Obama, Romney camps spar over tax study
Making his 12th visit to the Buckeye State since announcing his campaign for reelection, President Barack Obama on Wednesday continued to hammer home the differences between his tax policies and those of his opponent.
CNN: Livestock producers caught in a Capitol crunch
Livestock producers suffering through one of the most severe droughts in decades will most likely have to wait until Congress returns from its August recess before getting any new federal disaster assistance. A Senate Democratic leadership aide tells CNN that the Senate is "unlikely" to take up an aid bill that the House plans to pass Thursday before lawmakers dash out of town for a five-week break.
CNN: Democratic super PAC reserving $30 million for fall TV advertising
The Democratic super PAC backing President Barack Obama, Priorities USA Action, is significantly ramping up its media spending as it reserves $30 million in broadcast and cable ad time come this fall, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN. The group, run by two former Obama White House officials, has not actually yet purchased the ad time in the critical states of Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the sources said.
CNN: Report: Holmes' psychiatrist reported behavior to colleagues
The psychiatrist treating the accused Colorado movie theater gunman was so concerned about his behavior that she mentioned it to her colleagues, saying he could potentially be a danger to others, CNN affiliate KMGH reported Wednesday, citing sources with knowledge of the investigation. The psychiatrist's concerns surfaced in early June, nearly six weeks before the July 20 killings inside a movie theater in Aurora, sources told the Denver station.
CNN: Chick-fil-A restaurants become rallying points for supporters
Throngs of people weighed in on the Chick-fil-A debate at stores across the United States on Wednesday, buying chicken sandwiches to show their support for the restaurant chain and its president's opposition to same-sex marriage. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dubbed it "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day." He called for a vocal response to the backlash against the fast food restaurants and their president.
CNN: The charge in workplace threat case is a misdemeanor
A Maryland man accused of making threats against his workplace and who had a large cache of legally owned weapons was charged Wednesday with a misdemeanor, according to state officials. Neil Prescott, 28, has been charged with misuse of a telephone and will be formally arrested once he is released from a hospital, where he's been undergoing a court-ordered mental evaluation.
CNN: San Bernardino files for bankruptcy
A California city filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, the third in the Golden State to do so in recent weeks, stoking experts' concerns that other cities could follow suit. The city of San Bernardino, with more than 200,000 residents on the eastern tip of greater Los Angeles, "filed an emergency petition for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy" with a regional U.S. bankruptcy court, according to a news release from the city's interim manager.
CNN: Obama authorized covert support for Syrian rebels, sources say
President Barack Obama has signed a covert directive authorizing U.S. support for Syrian rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces, U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday. The secret order, referred to as an intelligence "finding," allows for clandestine support by the CIA and other agencies. It was unclear when the president signed the authorization for Syria, but the sources said it was within the past several months.
CNN: World needs to keep 'maximum pressure' on Iran, Panetta says
The United States won't let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon, "period," but sanctions remain the best tool to keep Tehran off the nuclear path, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday in Israel. Panetta called united, international pressure "the most effective way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
CNN: Olympics Day 5 sees scandal, joy, world records and controversy
Wednesday saw scandal at the Olympics as eight athletes were disqualified for trying not to win matches, joy as the U.S. continued its dominance in swimming and controversy as the chairman of the Games organizing committee declined to call Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian of all time. The disqualifications came in badminton, after two matches Tuesday night in which female athletes were accused of playing to lose so they could face easier opponents in future matches.
CNN: Police release composite image of Bulgaria bus bomber
Bulgarian police released a composite image Wednesday of the man accused of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a bus at Burgas airport last month, in which five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver died. The image shows the face of a clean-shaven young man with short dark hair, a pale complexion and brown or green eyes. It was created by applying "modern technologies and techniques" to the data collected, the police said in a statement.
CNNMoney: Stocks falter after Fed, eyes on ECB
U.S. stocks edged lower Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left its economic policies unchanged, dashing hopes for more stimulus measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 32 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq ended modestly lower. After a two-day meeting, the Fed's Open Market Committee issued a statement that was largely identical to the one it released after its June meeting.
CNNMoney: Car sales stall out in July
A good year for U.S. car sales hit a soft patch in July, as the largest automakers reported disappointing results Wednesday. Sales fell from year-ago levels at both General Motors and Ford Motor, the two largest automakers in terms of U.S. sales. GM sales dropped 6.4%, while Ford sales slid 3.8%. Both declines were bigger those forecast by sales trackers Edmunds.com, TrueCar and Kelley Blue Book.
CNNMoney: Cinnabon is first U.S. franchise in Libya
Cinnabon has opened a bakery-cafe in downtown Tripoli, making it the first U.S. franchise to enter Libya. Cinnabon, based in Atlanta, is also looking to enter Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, said Mike Shattuck, president of Focus Brands International, parent company of Cinnabon and other brands.
In case you missed it…
The U.S. Postal Service defaults on a $5.5 billion dollar payment to the retiree fund. CNN's Athena Jones reports.