Congress Reaches Deal on $600 COVID-19 Stimulus Checks and More News

1786

Congress reached a deal on a coronavirus relief package that will send a $600 check to all individuals making up to $75,000 per year. Plus a rare Christmas Star will be visible in the sky tonight and more news.

Hand holding a stimulus check
Adobe Stock

Congress reaches deal to issue $600 coronavirus stimulus checks

Congress is expected to pass a $900 billion coronavirus relief package after reaching a deal on Sunday night that will send a $600 check to all individuals making up to $75,000 per year.

The income cap to qualify for a stimulus check is the same amount established in the March CARES Act. However, the amount of the check is half of the $1,200 for individuals included in the earlier bill. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had pushed to have the amount of the check match the $1200 issued in the March bill. President Trump also was in favor of the larger amount, The Hill reported.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) repeatedly refused to answer a question from a CNN reporter on Sunday who questioned her about why she accepted a smaller stimulus package now, which she claimed was not nearly enough, after her refusal to accept a much larger deal from the Trump administration prior to the election, the Daily Wire reported.

“Pelosi wouldn’t answer my question about why the $900 billion deal is more acceptable to her than the $1.8 trillion offer Mnuchin made to her this fall,” CNN’s Manu Raju said.

Winter solstice brings rare Great Conjunction and Christmas Star tonight

Today marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice at 5:02 AM ET in the Northern Hemisphere. Not only does it bring the official first day of winter, it delivers the shortest day and longest night of the year, while a rare Christmas Star will be visible to the unaided eye in the night sky. That’s an astronomical event not seen for nearly 800 years.

The year 2020 has brought many unusual things. Tonight, we will witness a rare astronomical event called the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, also called “the Christmas Star,” which will occur on the evening of the winter solstice. Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned from our vantage point on Earth that they will appear as if a single star. This conjunction will be easily visible with the unaided eye for the next two weeks.

While these two planets pass close to one another roughly every twenty years, the last time the two planets aligned this closely was 400 years ago. However, the last time it occurred in the night sky for us earthlings to see it was nearly 800 years ago, according to NASA.

First Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations start today

A rollout of the newly authorized Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is set to begin on Monday, December 21, with doses administered to the most vulnerable populations. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency authorization to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine only three days ago, Fox reported.

Shipment of the vaccine began on Sunday. This week, the federal government is expected to deliver nearly 8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.