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: Graham says he'd break no-tax 'pledge'
A leading Republican senator said Sunday he's willing to break the no-tax pledge promoted by activist Grover Norquist if Democrats are willing to help pass spending reforms on government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes capping tax deductions should be part of a plan to reduce the federal debt – a revenue-raising tactic that pushes against Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
CNN: McCain says he's open to changing his mind on Susan Rice
Sen. John McCain, who has led the effort to discredit Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday he was willing to listen to Rice's testimony if she's nominated to become the next secretary of state. McCain has criticized Rice for her statements immediately following the September attacks at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which Rice initially described as stemming from protests against an anti-Islam video. Later her remarks came under scrutiny as further information suggested the attack was a premeditated assault.
CNN: Morgan Freeman narrates ad touting same-sex marriage victories
One of Hollywood's most recognizable voices has been put to use narrating a spot marking Election Day achievements for proponents of same-sex marriage. Morgan Freeman narrates the spot for the Human Rights Campaign, which asserts the ballot box victories in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State have provided a nationwide "mandate for full equality." The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to hear oral arguments on cases challenging the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman.
CNN: Everything's on the table – and the line – during fiscal cliff negotiations
Lawmakers from both the House and Senate said Sunday all options must be considered during fiscal cliff negotiations, as both parties work to try to avoid an economic crisis. One of the biggest holdups so far during negotiations has been whether or not Republicans will accept tax increases.
CNN: Cholesterol drug recalled over glass concerns
A manufacturer of a popular cholesterol-reducing medication has recalled more than 40 batches of the product after warning that they may contain small particles of glass. Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. says it is calling back bottles of its 10-, 20- and 40-milligram tablets of atorvastatin calcium, the generic version of the widely prescribed anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor.
CNN Security Clearance: Flap over military combat awards grows
The U.S. military's combat awards process is in disarray and because of that the official Department of Defense statistics do not accurately reflect those who have been awarded combat medals for bravery in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to some members of Congress.
CNN: Human error blamed in gas explosion at strip club
Human error is to blame in last week's gas-fueled explosion that ripped through a strip club in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield, officials said Sunday. The blast injured at least 21 people, including firefighters.
CNN: Chinese flock to elite U.S. schools
In the last decade, mainland Chinese have reshaped the international student body at U.S. colleges and universities, notably at Ivy League institutions. In the 2009-2010 academic year, China surpassed traditional "study abroad" heavyweights like Canada, India and South Korea, to lead international enrollment across U.S. higher education, according to the Institute of International Education.
CNN: Hamas leaders in Egypt for cease-fire talks involving Israel
Talks are set to resume Monday in Cairo between Israeli and Egyptian officials to further discuss the details of the Hamas-Israeli cease-fire, which began to take hold last week, Hamas said in a statement. Discussions will include topics such as opening border crossings and easing Israel's economic blockade in Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office said.
CNN: Egypt's Morsy to meet with top judicial body days after claiming new powers
President Mohamed Morsy will meet Monday with members of Egypt's highest judicial body, which has slammed his recent decree slashing judges' authority as an "unprecedented attack," state news reports. The Supreme Judicial Council has criticized the edict from Morsy, issued last Thursday, that among other things stated courts cannot overturn any decision or law he has issued since taking office in June or over the next six months, until a new constitution is finalized.
CNN: African leaders urge Congo rebels to quit hostilities
Regional leaders meeting in Uganda on Saturday called on a rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to withdraw from a city seized by its fighters this week and to "stop all war activities." The M23 group must also "stop talk of overthrowing an elected government," said a statement issued by the regional leaders at the end of the Great Lakes region summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
CNN: Saudi Arabia's unsolicited monitoring of women's travels draws activists' outrage
When word started spreading last week that Saudi women - already some of the most oppressed and restricted in the world - were being monitored electronically as they left the country, activists were quick to express their outrage.
CNNMoney: Black Friday shopping hits a new record
Apparently, full stomachs after Thanksgiving dinners get people in the mood for some real shopping. A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites in the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday weekend this year, up 9% from 226 million last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday.
Financial Times: Banks face more regulation over scandals
Several high-profile scandals for banks, ranging from JPMorgan’s hefty trading loss to UBS’s rogue trader, have sparked a new regulatory drive to force lenders to spend more time and probably hold more capital guarding against such operational risks.
CNNMoney: Stocks: Focus back on U.S. economy
As confidence builds over lawmakers' ability to reach a deal on the "fiscal cliff," investors will turn their attention to U.S. economic reports on the housing market, manufacturing and consumer data this week. "The U.S. stock market has recovered a little from its post-election hangover, as expectations of a compromise over the fiscal cliff have grown," said John Higgins, senior markets economist at Capital Economics.
In case you missed it…
Retiring lawmakers explain what compromise means to them and discuss what needs to be done regarding the fiscal cliff.