Extremely cold temperatures and frigid winter conditions are gripping large portions of the United States, threatening long power outages and disrupting travel operations. Also in the news: What went down in President Joe Biden’s one-hour meeting about the debt ceiling with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and how to get your Beyoncé tickets.
🙋🏼♀️ I’m Nicole Fallert, Daily Briefing author. Happy Groundhog Day! How often is Punxsutawney Phil right?
Now, here we go with Thursday’s headlines.
340K without power amid frigid temperatures in Texas
Texans in more than 340,000 homes and businesses without power braced for near-freezing temperatures Wednesday and more than 2,300 flights were canceled amid an unrelenting blast of treacherous, icy conditions and brutal cold that has left at least six dead. The winter weather system swept from Minnesota deep into Texas. Wrecks on slippery roads have been reported in Texas, Arkansas and other states across the region all week. The weather service said “the epic ice storm should come to a close on Thursday,” and states across the Southern Plains to the Mid-South remain under various storm warnings and advisories. Read more
Family, friends gather for Tyre Nichols’ funeral; VP Kamala Harris speaks
Family and friends of Tyre Nichols were joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and the Rev. Al Sharpton for the funeral of the 29-year-old father and avid skateboarder in Memphis on Wednesday. Harris spoke briefly during the service at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, acknowledging Nichols’ family. She called his death, which came three days after he was beaten by Memphis police officers who have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder, a “violent act” that “was not in the interest of keeping the public safe.” Read more
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Biden to continue discussion on debt limit with McCarthy
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had a “frank and straightforward dialogue” about a range of issues Wednesday, according to a readout of the meeting from the White House.
McCarthy said “there’s an opportunity here to come to an agreement on both sides” on the debt limit after meeting with Biden. The White House said Biden welcomes a separate discussion with congressional leaders on the debt limit and that the president and McCarthy agreed to continue the conversation.
- One thing to know: After the U.S. Treasury announced the government reached its borrowing limit, discussions in Congress have intensified surrounding raising the debt ceiling to avoid an economic crisis if the U.S. defaults on its debts. McCarthy and House Republicans are hoping to leverage the need to raise the debt ceiling in order to negotiate concessions from Democrats on spending cuts.
- “My role right now is to make sure we have a sensible, responsible ability to raise the debt ceiling but not continue this runaway spending,” McCarthy told reporters at the White House.
- What spending cuts do Republicans want? Though Republicans have tried to reassure voters – and especially the markets – that they will not send the U.S. economy careening toward collapse, they have been vague about how they will cut spending to FY2022 levels without touching entitlements.
The biggest day of industrial action Britain has seen in more than a decade
Up to half a million workers were estimated to be on strike across the U.K. in the biggest day of industrial action Britain has seen in more than a decade. Thousands of schools closed some or all of their classrooms, train services are paralyzed and delays are expected at airports as teachers, university staff, civil servants, border officials and train and bus drivers join a mass walkout. Wednesday’s strikes mark an escalation of disruptive action across multiple key industries. Unions are stepping up pressure on the government to demand better pay. They argue that wages have stagnated for a decade and failed to keep pace with soaring inflation. Read more world news.
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NFL icon Tom Brady says he’s ‘retiring for good’
Tom Brady announced Wednesday morning that he is retiring from the NFL – again. And, this time, for good. One year to the day after his first retirement announcement, Brady said on social media that he is officially and finally walking away from professional football, closing the book on an iconic career that spanned 23 NFL seasons, featured seven Super Bowl titles and cemented the 45-year-old quarterback as one of the sport’s all-time greats. “Good morning guys, I’ll get to the point right away: I’m retiring. For good,” Brady said in a brief video posted on social media. Read more
- Winners and losers of Tom Brady’s retirement announcement extend from field to broadcast booth
📷 Photo of the day: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2023 nominees 📷
Another year, another round of rock ‘n’ roll matriculation. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for its 2023 class, highlighting artists who expand the hall’s purview beyond the archetypal definition of rock. Check out photos of all the nominees, starting with country legend Willie Nelson.
- More rock news: Ozzy Osbourne cancels tour dates in the UK and Europe due to a spinal injury.
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Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note? Shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.
Associated Press contributed reporting.