5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, Dec. 29

Members of the medical staff rest on a stretcher in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads.
Members of the medical staff rest on a stretcher in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (2020 Getty Images)

Here are things to know for Tuesday, Dec. 29:

1. House approves Trump’s $2K checks, sending to GOP-led Senate

The House voted overwhelmingly Monday to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000, meeting President Donald Trump’s demand for bigger payments and sending the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate, where the outcome is highly uncertain.

Democrats led passage, 275-134, their majority favoring additional assistance, but dozens of Republicans suddenly joined in approval. While Democrats favored bigger checks, 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.

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2. Bomber to neighbor: The world is ‘never going to forget me’

It seemed like a friendly chat between neighbors. Only after a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning could Rick Laude grasp the sinister meaning behind his neighbor’s smiling remark that the city and the rest of the world would never forget him.

Laude said he saw his 63-year-old neighbor Anthony Quinn 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, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”