Here are things to know for Monday, Dec. 28:
1. Trump signs massive measure funding government, COVID relief
President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Sunday, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.
The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits.
The signing, at his private club in Florida, came amid escalating criticism over his eleventh-hour demands for larger, $2,000 relief checks and scaled-back spending even though the bill had already passed the House and Senate by wide margins.
2. US officials: Suspect in Nashville explosion died in blast
The man believed to be responsible for the Christmas Day bombing that tore through downtown Nashville blew himself up in the explosion, and appears to have acted alone, federal officials said Sunday.
Investigators used DNA and other evidence to link the man, identified as Anthony Quinn Warner, to the mysterious explosion, though officials said they still had not uncovered a motive for the bombing. Officials have received hundreds of tips and leads, but do not believe anyone else was responsible for the early morning explosion that damaged dozens of buildings.
Police earlier in the day had revealed that Warner, 63, was under investigation.
3. Fauci: US taking hard look at variant of coronavirus
U.S. health officials believe the coronavirus mutation that set off alarms in parts of Britain is no more apt to cause serious illness or be resistant to vaccines than the strain afflicting people in the United States but it still must be taken “very seriously,” the government’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci endorsed the decision of U.S. officials to require negative COVID-19 tests before letting people from Britain enter the U.S. He declined to weigh in on whether that step should have been taken sooner. He said the variant strain is something “to follow very carefully” and “we’re looking at it very intensively now.”
4. Highlights of COVID-19, government funding law taking effect
The massive, year-end catchall bill that President Donald Trump signed into law combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care.
Highlights of the measure with overall funding amounts and specific amounts for some but not necessarily all initiatives.
5. WATCH: J.J. Watt gives impassioned speech after frustrating loss
It’s been a difficult season for Texans leader J.J. Watt, who is enduring a 4-11 year while Houston stumbles its way to the finish line.
Watt has been relatively quiet for much of the season after losses, showing some frustration, but never fully describing the depth of that frustration.
That all changed Sunday, when Watt let loose on what he thought of the Texans season following the team’s 37-31 loss to Cincinnati.
“We’re professional athletes getting paid a whole lot of money. If you can’t come in and put work in in the building, go out to the practice field and work hard and do your lifts and do what you’re supposed to do, you should not be here,” said Watt.