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: House staves off fiscal cliff, but more money squabbles lie ahead
After exhaustive negotiations that strained the country's patience, the House has approved a Senate bill to thwart a dreaded fiscal cliff. The 257-167 vote Tuesday night largely fell along partisan lines: 172 Democrats voted yes and 16 Democrats voted no; 85 Republicans voted yes and 151 Republicans voted no. House Speaker John Boehner was among the Republicans voting for the measure.
CNN: House scraps vote on Hurricane Sandy aid before wrapping session
In a move that surprised many lawmakers and angered others, House Republican leaders wrapped up this session of Congress Tuesday night without voting on a package that would have provided billions of dollars in aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy. The Senate passed the $60.4 billion measure last week, and senators from New York had called on the House to take it up promptly. But because the House failed to act and a new Congress will be sworn in Thursday, the entire legislative process will have to start over - delaying the package from disbursing money to affected states.
CNN: Obama calls for less 'drama,' 'brinkmanship'
President Barack Obama called late Tuesday for Congress to employ "a little less drama, a little less brinkmanship and scare folks a little less" in future fiscal dealings, as he and Congress consider the prospect of working together again to avoid future economic crises. Obama spoke at the White House shortly after the House passed a scaled-back deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. The deal was passed earlier by the Senate and goes next to Obama's desk.
CNN: Other nuggets in the fiscal cliff bill: Rum, electric vehicles and motor sports
So what is really in the fiscal cliff legislation? Of course, there are the widely-known sticking points the two sides have been haggling over for weeks: extensions of the income tax cuts for middle and low-income earners, the current estate tax rate, and the alternative minimum tax. But there's also a provision on two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles, renewable energy, and rum.
CNN: Backlash prompts Newtown survivor's attorney to pull lawsuit, for now
Outcry over a request for permission to sue the state of Connecticut for millions of dollars in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting prompted a New Haven attorney to at least temporarily withdraw his client's petition, the attorney said Tuesday. Last week, Irving Pinsky, who represents the parents of a 6-year-old survivor of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, said in his filing that the state had failed to protect his client from what he described as "foreseeable harm."
CNN: Pennsylvania to sue NCAA over Penn State sanctions
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is to announce Wednesday plans to sue the NCAA over its sanctions against Penn State University, hit with an unprecedented fine in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
CNN: Pot activists divided over new cannabis club
A small group of New Year's Eve revelers here ditched the traditional champagne toast, lighting up joints instead at a newly opened marijuana club. The members-only Club 64 is the first of its kind to open in Colorado since November when voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
CNN: No leaks from grounded drill rig off Alaska, Coast Guard says
Coast Guard aircraft have found no sign of a spill from a Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling barge that ran aground off a southern Alaska island during a fierce winter storm, authorities reported Tuesday. The 266-foot Kulluk "is sound. There is no sign of a breach of the hull. There is no sign of a release of any product," Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
CNN Security Clearance: Iran claims success in firing new missiles during naval war exercises
The Iranian military says it has successfully test-fired a number of advanced missiles and air defense systems during coastal defense exercises near the strategic oil passageway of the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian government press reports said its navy launched anti-ship "Qader" cruise missiles and a new "optimized" version of a long-range surface-to-surface missile, called the "Nour" missile. Both models are made in Iran, according to the reports.
CNN: Syria's grim toll continues into 2013
The new year brought Syrians the same intense carnage they'd been living through for the last 21 months - and a reminder of just how bloody the past year was. Of all people killed in the civil war, 85% of them - 39,520 - died in 2012, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday. In 2011, 6,548 lost their lives, representing 14% of the total 46,068 deaths. And 2013 could bode worse, said U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
CNN: Chavez still in 'delicate' condition three weeks after surgery, Venezuelan VP says
Three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains in delicate condition and has seen only slight improvement in his health, the country's vice president said Tuesday.
CNN: Ivory Coast mourns 60 killed in New Year's stampede
Ivory Coast's president declared three days of national mourning and promised a speedy investigation into the New Year's Day stampede that killed 60 people, most of them women and children. President Alassane Ouattara went to the scene of the disaster and has ordered the government to take care of the injured, his office said.
CNNMoney: Fiscal cliff deal boosts world markets
International markets advanced Wednesday as lawmakers in the United States completed legislation that will mute much but not all of the fiscal cliff. The Senate passed a compromise measure Tuesday that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans and spare tens of millions from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
CNNMoney: Stocks in 2013: Get defensive
U.S. stocks are expected to grind higher in 2013, but don't expect another year of double-digit gains. According to more than 30 investment strategists and money managers surveyed by CNNMoney, the S&P 500 should finish 2013 at 1,490, up 4.5% for the year. While that's not anything to scoff at, it's a far cry from last year's 13% increase.
CNNMoney: CBO: Fiscal cliff deal adds $4 trillion to deficits
The fiscal cliff deal approved by Congress will increase deficits over the next decade by close to $4 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That estimate is relative to a benchmark where all the Bush tax cuts expire and the the fiscal cliff stays in place. Technically, that's what would happen if Congress had done nothing to avert the cliff.
In case you missed it…
Grover Norquist says technically lawmakers didn't violate the tax pledge by voting in favor of the fiscal cliff deal.