KWAME HOLMAN: The Senate cleared the way today to helping state and local governments with their budget woes. Democrats broke a Republican filibuster on a bill to provide more Medicaid funding and save thousands of teaching jobs. The scaled-back measure would cost $26 billion. Senators argued over bailing out states and paying for it with a new tax on U.S. companies operating overseas.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN,(D-Ill.): The spending in this measure is fully offset and paid for, totally. So, any argument that's being made about this adding to the deficit, it doesn't. It is a conscious decision to move resources from other parts of the budget where they are not as high a priority into this priority of keeping teachers in the classroom.
SEN. JUDD GREGG,(R-N.H.): And our people are going to have to pay all this back. So, I mean, we don't have that money to be sending to the states. In this bill, at least there is an attempt to pay for it, but the way they pay for it is by penalizing job-creators and forcing people to outsource jobs, which again comes back to harm us.
KWAME HOLMAN: The Senate is expected to pass the bill later this week.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today House members will interrupt their August recess next week to give it final approval.
Another incumbent in Congress has lost her job, the sixth one this year. Democratic Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan was beaten Tuesday in a primary. Her son is former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He's now serving prison time related to obstruction of justice.
Also Tuesday, Missouri voters approved a ban on making people buy health insurance. That directly conflicts with part of federal health reform that takes effect in 2014.
On Wall Street, stocks were up modestly, on word of improved business hiring and service sector activity. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 44 points to close at 10680. And the Nasdaq rose 20 points to close at 2303.
There were conflicting reports today out of Iran about possible -- a possible attempt to kill President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
We have a report narrated by Carl Dinnen of Independent Television News.
CARL DINNEN: Something made them jump, but what do these photographs show? Smoke can be seen to the left of screen behind the motorcade, but did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad survive a grenade attack or a celebratory firecracker?
As is clear from these pictures filmed shortly after the incident, presidential security is minimal. Initially, sources from the president's office said a homemade grenade had exploded about 100 meters from the president's car and a man had been arrested. Later reports claimed there had been no attack, attributing the bang and the smoke to a homemade firecracker thrown as a sign of joy by a man excited to see the president.
WOMAN: It was actually a firecracker. And, as you know, it's quite customary in that region to use firecrackers in welcoming ceremonies.
CARL DINNEN: Mr. Ahmadinejad went on to make his scheduled speech, and he didn't mention the incident.
KWAME HOLMAN: Widespread protests erupted in Iran last year after Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection. And, earlier this week, he claimed Israel had hired mercenaries to try to kill him.
The fires burning across Russia shrouded Moscow today in the heaviest smog yet, and the death toll grew to 48. Drivers in the capital needed headlights to see their way during daytime. The smoke and haze came from hundreds of fires burning in Central and Western Russia, aided by weeks of unseasonably hot, dry weather. In one day, firefighters put out nearly 300 fires, but 400 new ones were spotted.
Chipmaker Intel has reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The company was accused of intimidating computer makers not to use chips made by rivals. The FTC said, as a result, computer prices didn't fall as fast as they might have. Intel has denied the charges, but, under the settlement, it agreed to change its business practices.
For the record, Intel is a funder of the NewsHour.
Forty of America's wealthiest people pledged today to give away at least half of their wealth. They signed the Giving Pledge, started in June by investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The new additions to the list include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, and "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.
They have agreed to donate 50 percent or more of their billions either during their lifetimes or after death.
Those are some of the day's major stories -- now back to Gwen.