Government shutdown: Trump follows up speech with negotiation talks
The partial government shutdown will enter its 19th day, the second-longest in US history, Wednesday after President Donald Trump told Americans that his proposed border wall is needed to keep the country safe. In the first Oval Office address of his presidency, Trump argued that a security and humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border has made it imperative for Congress to approve his immigration proposal, including allocating $5.7 billion for a wall he says will block illegal immigration and illicit drugs. His 10-minute speech, which included several statements labeled as untrue or misleading by USA TODAY Network fact-checkers, was immediately followed by joint comments from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who decried the president’s remarks as “full of misinformation and even malice.” Congressional leaders from both parties are scheduled to meet at the White House to resume negotiations.
Sears’ survival on the line . . . again
The parent company over Sears and Kmart will likely go under unless a revised deal — backed by a $120 million deposit — comes together by 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.Hoping to rescue the company is its chairman and largest investor, Eddie Lampert. But Sears Holdings on Tuesday rejected his hedge fund’s original buyout proposal, giving him another day to make a revised offer. The iconic American retailer fell into disrepair over the last two decades, as stores steadily lost their pep and customers turned their attention to specialty alternatives and digital competition like Amazon. Lampert’s ESL Investments aims to keep about 425 stores open and 50,000 employees working.
Democrats begin their defense of Obamacare
Democrats on Wednesday ramp up their defense on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, one of their first actions following midterm elections in which they won the House after pounding away on the issue. The latest challenge stems from Congress’ elimination of the penalty for not purchasing health insurance, which was included in the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul approved last December. Judge Reed O’Connor, a U.S. District Court judge in the Northern District of Texas, ruled in December that the entire Affordable Care Act is invalid. He said the Republican tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation out from under Obamacare by eliminating the penalty for not having coverage. Law experts say the best way for Democrats to stop the latest ACA challenge is through legislation.
What will CES have in store after mindblowing opening day?
The 5G wireless revolution will take center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday after a memorable day in Las Vegas. The show, which officially opened Tuesday, has unveiled many cool gadgets such as digital license plates, Dolby’s $600 movie theater-like headphones, a rollable TV and Electric Go-Karts just to name a few. But all the focus now shifts to 5G broadband and artificial intelligence, and how they will change our lives as we know it. The faster 5G internet signals will provide the backbone needed for autonomous self-driving cars and smart cities, for improved traffic flow and other services. Make sure to follow USA TODAY Tech for all the latest news and updates from Sin City.
As college football season ends, college basketball starts to heat up
College football season may be over now, but college basketball season is in full swing. You might’ve missed some of the early season action, but there’s plenty to be excited about with college hoops, especially Wednesday night. Conference play is underway, bringing a handful of fun matchups to watch: No. 10 Auburn vs. Ole Miss (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), No. 19 Marquette vs. Creighton (7 p.m. ET, CBSSN), No. 1 Virginia vs. Boston College (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU) and ends with TCU vs. No. 9 Kansas (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Make sure to check out our weekly Coaches Poll Top 25 to see where your school stands against the rest of the nation.