Good morning, NBC News readers.
President Donald Trump leaves Republicans in a jam on stimulus checks, America's latest setback in the coronavirus crisis and a new vaccine hope from across the Atlantic.
Here is what's happening this Wednesday morning.
Trump puts GOP in a bind on stimulus checks
President Donald Trump left Republicans in a difficult position with his demand that coronavirus stimulus payments be raised to a maximum of $2,000 per person.
The measure was embraced by Democrats but faces a difficult path through the GOP-led Senate, where his party's leaders are now torn between conservative orthodoxy, voter demands for loyalty to Trump and their desire to win a crucial Senate election in Georgia next week.
Meantime, the badly-needed $600 relief payments Trump finally signed into law Sunday could be headed your way this morning.
Fresh cause for concern in U.S.' fight against Covid-19
The first confirmed case of Covid-19 from a highly-contagious coronavirus variant thought to have emerged in the United Kingdom was reported in Colorado on Tuesday, the latest setback in the U.S.' fight against the virus.
Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders were extended for two large parts of California on Tuesday with hospitals under strain from surging Covid-19 cases. And a jarring new NBC News analysis has shown that at its current rate the Trump administration’s vaccine distribution program would take almost 10 years to inoculate enough Americans to control the pandemic.
President-elect Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration for the slow pace in a speech Tuesday and said he plans to use the Defense Authorization Act to get companies to ramp up production of materials needed for the vaccines once in office.
However, news from across the pond may offer some solace, as it was announced Wednesday that the British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate has received regulatory approval in the United Kingdom.
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- Rep.-elect Luke Letlow dies from Covid complications days before being sworn in.
- The holidays brought air travel to its highest levels since March. It's still way down.
- She didn't know her kidnapper. But he was using Google Maps— and that cracked the case.
- Sports leagues rushed back. Now they're struggling as pandemic runs through the U.S.
- Jonathan Pollard: Israel welcomes former spy in U.S. after 30 years in jail.
THINK about it
Covid "long-haul" symptoms leave survivors in emotional limbo. I know that pain, says writer Caira Conner in an opinion piece.
USDA releases new dietary guidelines: What do they mean for you?
This was a big year for tech as many worked and studied remotely, socialized and were entertained online. Here's the most purchased wearable and personal tech we've covered.
One last thing
Nightly News has looked back at the times when Lester Holt paused to reflect during a year filled with moments of uncertainty and hope.
From the day the World Health Organization officially called the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, to the anger and fear displayed in the wake of George Floyd's death and the significance of November’s presidential election, it highlights some of the key moments in a year like no other.
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