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Relief is coming: Trump backtracks and signs Covid aid into law

The president's last-minute decision will restore enhanced unemployment assistance that expired Sunday and avert a shutdown that would have begun Tuesday.

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump ends days of delay and signs a bill that includes Covid-19 relief, authorities identify the Nashville bombing suspect, and a look at the year's top memes.

Here is what we're watching this Monday morning.


Trump signs spending bill, unlocking Covid relief

President Donald Trump backtracked Sunday and signed a $2.3 trillion package that combines Covid-19 relief with government funding.

His last-minute decision, coming after he caused days of legislative chaos by lacerating a bill his own aides had negotiated, will restore enhanced unemployment assistance that expired Sunday and avert a shutdown that would have begun Tuesday.

The package also includes $600 in direct payments to Americans who earned less than $75,000 in the previous tax year, as well as additional assistance for small businesses and an extension to the federal moratorium on evictions, which was set to expire Thursday.

Trump's signature will be welcome news to many struggling to pay bills and put enough food on the table. Food banks in particular have been sounding the alarm as the pandemic drags on.

"We have seen so many new families coming in, and I will tell you probably the most difficult thing I've seen throughout this pandemic are the families that come and bring their children," said food bank director Susan Dietrich.

We apologize, this video has expired.

Suspect in Christmas explosion in Nashville died in blast, investigators say

The suspect in the Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, Tennessee – identified as Anthony Quinn Warner, 63 – died in the blast, investigators said Sunday.

State and federal investigators matched DNA from the scene of the explosion to items collected from Warner and his relatives, authorities said.

An estimated 41 businesses were damaged in the blast. Nashville’s 911 system was temporarily disrupted, planes at Nashville International Airport were grounded and service was interrupted in Kentucky and Alabama.

One of the officers on the scene credited divine intervention with a last-minute decision to walk away from the recreational vehicle just seconds before it exploded. Officers also heard the vehicle broadcasting the song, “Downtown,” by Petula Clark.


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Plus


THINK about it

Shonda Rhimes' "Bridgerton" puts a sexy, modern spin on Regency romances, writes cultural critic Ani Bundel in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

Why you should make a vision board before the new year — and how you can get started.


Shopping

This was a big year for books as people found more time to read during the pandemic. Here are some of the year's bestsellers.


Quote of the day

"If we get this wrong, then it's very hard to bring public transport services back once they've disappeared."

Greg Marsden, a professor of transport governance at the University of Leeds in Britain, on public transport's pandemic-induced "death spiral."


One fun thing

Throughout this tough year, one of the brighter spots has been an abundance of memes helping us to connect and make us laugh.

Whether it was poking fun at "nature healing" or darker humor aimed at people who hadn't taken proper Covid-19 precautions, for many, memes were a pandemic coping tool.

"Since we can't see each other in person, using memes to kind of share feelings and connect with one another has become huge this year," said Don Caldwell, editor-in-chief of the meme database Know Your Meme.

From the fly on Mike Pence’s head during the debate to the dancing pallbearers, here are NBC News' top memes of 2020.


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