October 17, 2021

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Biden’s agenda, military leaders’ testimony, Britney Spears hearing: 5 things to know Wednesday – USA TODAY

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Biden cancels Chicago trip in order to continue negotiations on key legislation

With his domestic agenda facing a make-or-break moment, President Joe Biden canceled a trip he planned to make to Chicago Wednesday so he can continue negotiations with members of Congress, according to a White House official. The trip, which was planned for Biden to highlight businesses that require COVID-19 vaccinations, will be rescheduled, the official said. The stakes are as high as ever as Biden and the Democratic Party try to accomplish a giant legislative lift. His idea is to essentially raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and use that money to expand government health care, education and other programs. Complicating matters, Republicans have refused to approve legislation to keep the government funded past Thursday’s fiscal yearend and raise the nation’s debt limit to avoid a dangerous default on borrowing. More votes are expected Wednesday and will likely head off a catastrophe, at least temporarily.

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Military leaders to testify in front of House committee

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and U.S. Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie will continue to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday, this time before the House Armed Services Committee. The trio of military leaders are likely to face additional questions on their handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. On Tuesday, Milley defended the decision to pull American troops out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31, saying risks to the U.S. military and remaining American citizens in Afghanistan were going to go “extremely high beginning in September.” Additionally, Austin said the U.S. is still working on getting Americans out who wish to leave Afghanistan. 

Britney Spears’ conservatorship case returns to court 

Britney Spears’ legal team heads to court again Wednesday for what will likely be a pivotal hearing in the battle over her conservatorship. Coming in the wake of two new documentaries about the agreement that has controlled the pop star’s finances and major life decisions for the last 13 years, it’s the first hearing in which Spears’ chosen attorney will argue on her behalf instead of a court-appointed lawyer. The main issue will likely be the role of her father, Jamie Spears, who has overseen the conservatorship at least in part since 2008. He currently remains co-conservator of her finances, though that may change after this hearing. 

Join USA TODAY in a conversation on civil rights

On March 27, 1961, nine Black students at Tougaloo College in Mississippi sat at tables at a whites-only library. They were quickly arrested, a moment that inspired young people at other historically Black colleges and universities to rally against segregation. On Wednesday, USA TODAY is collaborating with Tougaloo College in a free virtual event, “Freedom Now: How Institutions of Power Fuel and Stall Change,” which looks at the roles law enforcement, media, government and education leaders serve in civil rights movements. The event is at 7 p.m. EDT; you can register at sevendaysin1961.usatoday.com. The event is part of USA TODAY’s “Seven Days of 1961” project, which spotlights seven pivotal protests that fueled the civil rights movement.

Hot and sweet: Grabba cuppa free Joe on National Coffee Day

Restaurants, convenience stores and coffee brands on Wednesday are serving up deals for National Coffee Day. Many of the nation’s leading chains, such as Starbucks, Dunkin’, 7-Eleven, Wawa and others are offering free or discounted brews on the made-up holiday. USA TODAY’s Kelly Tyko has the complete roundup of promotions. Many of the deals require an app and being registered for a loyalty program.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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