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.
CNNMoney: Geithner: U.S. to hit debt ceiling on Monday
Government borrowing will hit the debt ceiling on Monday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a letter to Congress Wednesday. As a result, the Treasury Department will soon start using what it calls "extraordinary measures" to prevent government borrowing from exceeding the legal limit.
CNN: Source: Reid looking for votes on fiscal cliff package
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in conjunction with the White House, is working to see if the scaled back fiscal cliff package President Barack Obama laid out last week can get through Congress before December 31st. Reid has made clear in private conversations he does not want to bring any bill to the Senate floor unless he is sure it will pass both the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-held House.
CNN Poll: High marks for first lady; mixed reviews for Cabinet members
President Barack Obama's Cabinet – currently undergoing a mid-presidency shuffle – receives mixed reviews in a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. But the president's wife, first lady Michelle Obama, still gets high marks as she prepares for another four years in the White House alongside the president.
CNN: Hawaii governor taps Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz as new U.S. senator
Hawaii’s governor announced Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will fill the seat in the U.S. Senate left vacant after the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Schatz, 40, is a former state legislator and executive of a nonprofit group. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie was widely expected to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to the seat. Hours before Inouye died of respiratory complications at age 88, he named Hanabusa as his preferred successor.
CNN: Justice won't block Obamacare's required emergency contraception coverage
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday turned down a request that she block part of Obamacare that would require companies' health plans to provide for coverage of certain contraceptives, such as the morning-after pill.
CNN: Experts say 'nothing that can be done' for 60-foot whale found on New York beach
A 60-foot-long whale that was discovered still breathing on a New York beach Wednesday morning is likely to die overnight, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If the whale is still alive by Thursday morning, NOAA plans to euthanize the whale "humanely," according to McHale
CNN: Arizona plan would arm principals
Arizona's attorney general proposed arming one principal or employee at each school to defend against attacks such as the recent Connecticut school massacre. "The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school," Attorney General Tom Horne said in a news release Wednesday. But budget cuts have limited the number of Arizona schools with "school resource officers" on campus, he said.
CNN: FBI considered Occupy movement potential threat, documents say
The FBI extensively monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement around the United States, using counterterrorism agents and other resources, according to recently released FBI internal documents.
CNN: Video: Syrian military police chief defects to join 'the people's revolution'
In what could be one of the highest-level defections yet from the Syrian government, the country's military police chief has reportedly left Bashar al-Assad's forces to join "the people's revolution."
CNN: Russian anti-U.S. adoption bill advances, goes to Putin for signing
Russia's upper house of parliament has approved a controversial measure banning adoption of Russian children by U.S. families, Russian media reported Wednesday. The legislation now goes to President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law, the semiofficial RIA-Novosti news agency said.
CNN: Rebels advance in Central African Republic
The United Nations announced Wednesday that it is temporarily relocating dependents and nonessential staff in the Central African Republic because a cease-fire with rebel forces is not holding. Their "contradictory messages and their continued military offensive seem to indicate that they might be intent on taking Bangui," said U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq, referring to the capital city.
CNN: Rape victim arrives in Singapore for medical treatment
The victim of a brutal gang rape that sparked massive protests in India's capital, arrived in Singapore for further medical treatment on Thursday. The patient arrived at 9:05 a.m. local time, a spokesperson for the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore told CNN. "She is in extremely critical condition and being examined by doctors," the spokesperson said.
CNNMoney: Toyota to pay $1.1 billion in recall case
Toyota Motors agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a class-action suit by car owners who claimed they suffered economic loss because of unintended acceleration in its cars. This is one of the largest lawsuits of its kind, according to Steve Berman, one of the lead plaintiff lawyers.
CNNMoney: Stocks falter as wait for Washington continues
U.S. stocks faltered Wednesday as political wrangling over the fiscal cliff continued to dominate investor sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2% and the S&P 500 lost 0.5%. The Nasdaq dropped 0.7%. The tepid trading came as investors returned from the Christmas holiday. U.S. markets were closed Tuesday and Monday was an abbreviated trading day.
CNNMoney: 'Marriage penalty' could make costly return
The return of the so-called marriage penalty could cost many couples more than $2,000 in higher 2013 taxes if Congress doesn't get its act together and fix the fiscal cliff. As a result of the Bush tax cuts, married couples get a standard deduction that's exactly twice that of individuals. And the income ranges for the 10% and 15% tax brackets are also doubled. Prior to 2001, many married couples had paid a "penalty" because their standard deduction and income tax brackets were less than twice those of singles.
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