Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, December 29.
1. House passes Trump-requested $2,000 check bill
- The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000, up from $600, meeting President Donald Trump’s demand for bigger payments and sending the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate, where the outcome is uncertain.
- Democrats led passage, 275-134, their majority favoring additional assistance, but dozens of Republicans suddenly joined in approval. While Democrats favored bigger checks all along, Congress had settled on smaller $600 payments in a compromise over the big year-end relief bill Trump reluctantly signed into law. The president’s GOP allies opposed more spending and Trump’s push puts them in a difficult spot.
- In Alabama’s delegation, Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell supported the bill as did Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt. Reps. Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Mo Brooks and Gary Palmer, all Republicans, voted no.
- The vote was a stunning turn of events from just days ago, when House Republicans blocked Trump’s demands during a Christmas Eve session. After Trump spent days fuming from his private club in Florida, where he is spending the holidays, dozens of Republicans preferred to link with Democrats rather than buck the outgoing president.
- Senators are set to return to session today, forced to consider the measure amid similar, stark GOP divisions.
- The showdown could end up as more symbol than substance. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has declined to say publicly how the Senate will handle the bill when Democrats in the upper chamber try to push it forward for a vote today.
- Just how upside down are things? Sen. Bernie Sanders is promising to filibuster until there is a vote on the $2,000 checks and Trump retweeted him in support.
- Read more HERE.
2. House overrides Trump’s veto on NDAA
- In his last month in office, President Donald Trump is close to becoming the first president since Lyndon Johnson to avoid having a veto overridden by Congress.
- That possible superlative took a hit Monday as the House voted to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act.
- House members voted 322-87 to override the veto, well above the two-thirds needed. The Senate, which is expected to vote on the override this week, also needs to approve it by a two-thirds majority.
- In Alabama’s delegation, Rep. Gary Palmer was the only member voting against overriding the veto. All others – Reps. Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks and Sewell – voted to override.
- I’ve been asked several times to explain what exactly the NDAA is and why it’s such a big deal.
- In short, it is the annual bill that sets policy and spending priorities for the entire United States Military. Want to give troops a pay raise, authorize a new weapon system or change our overseas contingency operations fund? You put it in the NDAA. Given how many military bases and programs are in Alabama, our congressional delegation plays a big part in crafting the annual bill.
- But isn’t that what the defense appropriations bills are for? It takes both, actually. Authorization and appropriation.
- Just like the Farm Bill authorizes agriculture policy and spending, the NDAA does that for the military. Both have to be filled in with funding through the appropriations process, which generally sticks to the authorized spending levels.
- It’s going to be interesting as the override effort goes to the Senate. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the bill “absolutely vital to our national security and our troops,” adding, “Our men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform shouldn’t be denied what they need — ever.”
- But Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has vowed to delay debate on the bill as long as possible due to his opposition to the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan.
- Read more HERE.
3. Nashville bomber left hints of trouble, but motive elusive
- In the days before he detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas, Anthony Quinn Warner changed his life in ways that suggest he never intended to survive the blast that killed him and wounded three other people.
- Warner, 63, gave away his car, telling the recipient that he had cancer. A month before the bombing, he signed a document that transferred his longtime home in a Nashville suburb to a California woman for nothing in return. The computer consultant told an employer that he was retiring.
- But he didn’t leave behind a clear digital footprint or any other obvious clues to explain why he set off the explosion in his parked recreational vehicle or played a message warning people to flee before it damaged dozens of buildings and knocked out cellphone service in the area.
- Rick Laude said that he saw Warner standing at his mailbox less than a week before Christmas and pulled over in his car to talk. After asking how Warner’s elderly mother was doing, Laude said he casually asked him, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”
- Warner smiled and said, “Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me,” Laude recalled.
- Full story HERE.
4. More vaccines on the way
- A huge U.S. study of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate got underway Monday as states continue to roll out scarce supplies of the first shots to a nation anxiously awaiting relief from the catastrophic outbreak.
- Public health experts say more options in addition to the two vaccines now being dispensed are critical to amassing enough shots for the country and the world.
- The candidate made by Novavax Inc. is the fifth to reach final-stage testing in the United States. It is made differently than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, using what Dr. Anthony Fauci called a “more tried and true” technology that needs only ordinary refrigeration. The Maryland company grows harmless copies of the coronavirus spike protein in the laboratory and mixes in an immune-boosting chemical.
- The next big vaccine news may come from Johnson & Johnson, which is aiming for a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
- Made in yet another way, it uses a harmless virus – a cold virus called an adenovirus — to carry the spike gene into the body. In mid-December, J&J finished enrolling about 45,000 volunteers in a final-stage study in the U.S. and a half-dozen other countries. Fauci expects early results sometime next month.
- The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed expects to have shipped 20 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to states by the beginning of January.
- Read more about vaccine development HERE.
- Meanwhile, residents at Alabama’s four state veterans homes will receive COVID-19 vaccinations beginning today.
- The arrival of the vaccine is a bright spot amid a record-setting surge in COVID-19 cases. Alabama ranked sixth in the United States for the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days
- Alabama’s vaccine plan has prioritized frontline medical workers and residents and employees of long-term care facilities for the first allotments of the vaccine. Health care workers began receiving vaccinations last week. State Health Officer Scott Harris said last week that vaccinations were to be begin at long-term care facilities this week under a partnership with pharmacies.
- The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs said in a news release that the first immunizations of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to residents and staff at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City on Tuesday. Vaccinations will continue over the next two-weeks at the other three homes.
- Read more HERE.
5. Six Bama players named All Americans
- Heisman Trophy finalists Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith have been selected to The Associated Press All-America team, leading a contingent of five Alabama players on the first-team offense.
- Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris, tackle Alex Leatherwood and center Landon Dickerson are also first-team selections. No. 1 Alabama is the first team since 1980, when the AP All-America team began featuring two wide receivers and two running backs, to place a quarterback, running back and receiver on the first team.
- Cornerback Patrick Surtain II gives the Crimson Tide six first-team selections, the most in the nation.
- No. 4 Notre Dame, Alabama’s College Football Playoff opponent this weekend, has two first-team All-Americans in offensive guard Aaron Banks and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
- Read more and see the full All America team HERE.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds: Exit interview with Bradley Byrne
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fate of Trump’s $2,000 checks now rests with GOP-led Senate
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – House votes to override Trump’s veto of defense bill
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Nashville bomber left hints of trouble, but motive elusive
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline as US effort ramps up
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – VA home residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama’s Jones, Smith, Harris lead 6 Tide AP All-Americans
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump relents, signs COVID relief, averts federal shutdown
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – December 28, 2020
AL.COM – 2,269 new COVID cases in Alabama; recoveries grow to 193,149
AL.COM – Alabama internet voucher program for students extended through spring 2021
AL.COM – Mo Brooks disagrees with Trump on $2,000 stimulus checks
AL.COM – 71% in poll favor creating lottery in Alabama
AL.COM – Birmingham Business Alliance names new CEO
AL.COM – Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson took bold steps to save lives
AL.COM – Search in Africatown: Researchers to look for graves of former slaves and descendants from the Clotilda
AL.COM – Mo Brooks embraces controversy as he leads longshot fight for Trump
Montgomery Advertiser – Driver missing after stolen truck rolls off I-85 in Montgomery
Montgomery Advertiser – Man dies in Monday morning Montgomery shooting
Montgomery Advertiser – After years of waiting, demolition begins at future site of luxury ‘gin shop’ lofts in Prattville
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – A record 2,800+ patients statewide hospitalized with COVID-19
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UAB monitoring for allergic reactions after COVID vaccine administration
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Homewood woman’s cancer treatment jeopardized because of hospital strain
Tuscaloosa News – LOOKING BACK | This week in West Alabama History: Dec. 28, 2020
Tuscaloosa News – Montgomery graduate starts University of Alabama groundbreaking publication
Tuscaloosa News – BETTY SLOWE’S BLOG: Dec. 28, 2020 | 100 years ago
Decatur Daily – Decatur Morgan Hospital at ‘all-time high’ for COVID-19 patients
Decatur Daily – AT&T outage affects local law enforcement agencies
Decatur Daily – Lacey’s Spring woman found dead near Hartselle
Times Daily – Cement truck overturns across from Brooks High
Times Daily – Wet New Year’s Eve ahead in the Shoals
Times Daily – AT&T service restored in Shoals, but outages could occur
Anniston Star – Severe weather may arrive in Calhoun County for New Year’s Eve
Anniston Star – Newell man charged with domestic violence by strangulation
YellowHammer News – Ivey extends program that subsidizes internet access for low-income families with K-12 students
YellowHammer News – Here’s how Alabama’s U.S. House delegation voted on Trump-supported $2K relief payments
YellowHammer News – U.S. Rep.-elect Barry Moore: ‘I hope Coach Tuberville will join us’ in fight contesting Electoral College.
Gadsden Times – Fort Payne police are looking for missing Centre woman
Gadsden Times – COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, set records
Gadsden Times – Meeting on proposed apartments in Rainbow City canceled; request to rezone withdrawn
Dothan Eagle – Fate of Trump’s $2,000 checks now rests with GOP-led Senate
Dothan Eagle – EXPLAINER: Brexit ends Britons’ right to live and work in EU
Dothan Eagle – The Latest: Hospitalizations in England exceed spring’s peak
Opelika-Auburn News – Two injured in early morning shooting at Lee County bar; sheriff’s office to implement “enforcement actions”
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn police looking for suspect in connection to string of armed robberies
Opelika-Auburn News – Asia Today: US begins vaccinating its troops in South Korea
WSFA Montgomery – Man shot in apparent road rage incident in Prattville, police say
WSFA Montgomery – First responders begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines
WSFA Montgomery – USDA declares Hurricane Zeta disaster areas in 32 Alabama counties
WAFF Huntsville – Re-zoning ordinances pass in Madison leaving residents upset
WAFF Huntsville – Lauderdale County first responders get COVID vaccine
WAFF Huntsville – Investigators seeking suspect in connection to Hazel Green robberies
WKRG Mobile – Molino firefighters gather to mourn beloved former chief
WKRG Mobile – Second stimulus check: When to expect a $600 COVID relief payment
WKRG Mobile – Miracles for babies who need to be delivered between 22 and 28 weeks
WTVY Dothan – Doctor predicts when the pandemic will end
WTVY Dothan – Alabama residents travel across state lines with hopes of winning Mega Millions
WTVY Dothan – COVID-19 in Alabama: 1,602 new confirmed cases on Sunday
WASHINGTON POST – Biden accuses Trump appointees of obstructing transition on national security issues
WASHINGTON POST – House votes to override Trump’s veto of defense bill, setting up first such rebuke during his presidency
WASHINGTON POST – House votes to boost stimulus checks to $2,000 with bipartisan support
NEW YORK TIMES – New York Bans Most Evictions as Tenants Struggle to Pay Rent
NEW YORK TIMES – Kentucky Is Hurting as Its Senators Limit or Oppose Federal Aid
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump’s Veto Threat Did Little to Alter Stimulus Package
WALL STREET JOURNAL – House Votes to Increase Stimulus Checks to $2,000, Override Trump Veto of Defense Bill
WALL STREET JOURNAL – U.S. Stocks Finish at Records After Stimulus Bill Passage
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Instacart Looked Like a Savior. Now Stores Aren’t So Sure
Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)