**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**On the roster: Virus relief bill released, Congress prepares to vote – Barr says ‘no plan’ to appoint special counsels – Harris rallies in Georgia: ‘2020 ain’t over’ – Biden to receive first dose of Covid vaccine – And it’s not frah-gee-layVIRUS RELIEF BILL RELEASED, CONGRESS PREPARES TO VOTEAP: "After months of Washington gridlock, Congress is set to vote on a $900 billion pandemic relief package… The relief package, agreed to on Sunday and finally released in bill form Monday afternoon, remained on track for votes in Congress on Monday. It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction. The 5,593-page legislation — the longest bill in memory and probably ever — came together Sunday after months of battling, posturing and postelection negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached. President-elect Joe Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted in the fall."[Ed. note: Read the full text of the bill here, if you so please.]It’s in the details – Axios: "The package includes: $600 stimulus checks per adult and child. $300 per week in enhanced unemployment insurance for 11 weeks. $319 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion for loans given through the Paycheck Protection Program, $20 billion in EIDL Grants, and $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of the eviction moratorium. $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits. $82 billion in education, with $10 billion dedicated to child care. $7 billion to increase access to broadband. Billions for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing. Language ending surprise billing for emergency and scheduled care. A tax credit for employers offering paid sick leave and extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit. $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance."Focus on broadband money for low-income, jobless – Roll Call: "The $900 billion coronavirus relief package announced late Sunday contains $7 billion for broadband, including funding for those struggling to afford internet access and for service providers to remove and replace telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese companies labeled national security threats. The deal includes $3.2 billion for the Federal Communications Commission to provide a new emergency broadband benefit of $50 per month to low-income families and recently laid-off or furloughed workers. The provision is based on legislation by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas. Details were provided as part of a Democratic summary and information from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s office. … Advocates called the provision a historic achievement that could help tens of millions of Americans bridge what has become known as the ‘digital divide.’"Mnuchin says checks could arrive next week – Fox Business: "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a fresh round of $600 stimulus checks could start going out to Americans as soon as next week, much faster than the first batch of payments that Congress approved earlier this year. ‘People are going to see this money [at] the beginning of next week,’ he said during an interview with CNBC Monday morning. ‘Much needed relief — and just in time for the holidays.’ …[The] stimulus checks are expected to follow the same eligibility formula as the first round –although they'll be half the size of the $1,200 payments sent out earlier this year. ‘The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,’ Mnuchin said…"THE RULEBOOK: TIME UNDER TENSION "[Duration in office] has relation to two objects: to the personal firmness of the executive magistrate, in the employment of his constitutional powers; and to the stability of the system of administration which may have been adopted under his auspices." – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 71TIME OUT: FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LASmithsonian: "Christmas is a remarkably adaptable holiday. The ways in which we celebrate can be totally unrecognizable from one region, culture or community to another. It was this fact that inspired [Alex Palmer] to write The Atlas of Christmas, which maps out these diverse, sometimes quirky, traditions and mythologies, from dragging a yule log through the streets in Latvia to donning a horse skull and going door to door reciting poetry in Wales. The variety in the festivities is perhaps best reflected in some of the distinctive games played during the holiday from one place to the next. Holiday parlor games have never been as central to Christmas in the United States as they had been in England. Nineteenth-century games such as Blindman’s Buff … and How, When and Where … are among those Charles Dickens discusses in A Christmas Carol, but there is little evidence they ever caught on in the U.S. the way so many other Victorian holiday traditions did." Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?We’ve brought "From the Bleachers" to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to [email protected].BARR SAYS ‘NO PLAN’ TO APPOINT SPECIAL COUNSELSFox News: "Attorney General William Barr on Monday said he has ‘no plan’ to appoint a special counsel to take over the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s ‘tax affairs,’ or one to probe allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Barr announced last week that he would depart from his post as attorney general on Dec. 23 — before the end of the Trump administration. Republicans have been demanded that a special counsel be appointed to continue the federal investigation into Hunter Biden to ensure that it continues through the incoming Biden administration. President Trump reportedly had been discussing a potential special counsel for that investigation. But Barr, on Monday, said he has no plans to appoint a special counsel for that investigation, or one to review the election, that before he leaves the Justice Department. ‘I think to the extent that there's an investigation, I think that it's being handled responsibly and professionally,’ Barr said Monday about the investigation into Hunter Biden."Report: Biden won’t talk about son with AG candidates – AP: "President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming press secretary said Sunday that Biden would not discuss the investigation of his son with any prospective candidates for attorney general. A federal investigation into the finances of Biden’s son, Hunter, will likely be a major point of contention during Senate confirmation hearings for Biden’s nominee to lead the Justice Department. Some Republicans are already calling for the appointment of a special counsel to deter the role of politics in an investigation. Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that Biden is looking for somebody who is at ‘the highest level of integrity’ to oversee the Justice Department. ‘And that person, whomever it is, will be overseeing whatever investigations are happening at the Department of Justice,’ she said."Trump campaign sends Pennsylvania results challenge to SupCo – Bloomberg: "President Donald Trump’s campaign said it turned to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the election results in Pennsylvania… The latest filing, announced on Sunday, takes the unorthodox step of trying to overturn three separate Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions with a single appeal. Although all three decisions are weeks old, the campaign asked the court to put the cases on an ultra-expedited track with the goal of a ruling before Congress meets Jan. 6 to count the electoral votes. … The new Trump appeal centers on the 2.6 million mail-in ballots cast in Pennsylvania. The campaign is challenging an Oct. 23 ruling that said election officials shouldn’t try to verify that the signature on the ballot envelope matches the one on file. The appeal also seeks to overturn a Nov. 23 ruling that said officials shouldn’t reject ballots because they lack a name, address or date on the envelope."HARRIS RALLIES IN GEORGIA: ‘2020 AIN’T OVER’AJC: "Vice President-elect Kamala Harris joined a parade of high-profile politicians rallying Georgia voters with a visit Monday urging Democrats to vote before the Christmas holiday for Senate Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. In her first visit to Georgia since Democrats flipped the state, Harris challenged voters to return to the polls in the record numbers that helped President-elect Joe Biden narrowly win the state in November before the Jan. 5 runoffs for control of the U.S. Senate. ‘As far as I’m concerned Georgia – Columbus – 2020 ain’t over until January 5,’ she said. ‘That’s when 2020 will be over. That’s when we’ll get this thing done. Because as you know, everything is at stake.’ … Harris was set to hold an event earlier Monday in Lawrenceville, but the leg of the trip was canceled ahead of the vote for a $900 billion coronavirus relief package in Congress later in the evening. The California senator reminded the crowd she plans to vote yes."Ivanka Trump postpones rally for Loeffler, Perdue - The Hill: "President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump postponed campaign events in Georgia on Monday due to the coronavirus relief bill vote in Congress. ‘Excited to be in Fulton Cty, GA this AM for an Early Voting event [with Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue]! Due to the COVID relief vote today, we’ll be postponing the rest of today’s events,’ Ivanka Trump tweeted. ‘We must focus on what’s most important- support for hard working Americans. Relief is on the way!’ The president's daughter and the incumbent Republican senators were originally slated to take part in a campaign rally in Walton County, Georgia, on Monday, as well as make an appearance in Suwanee. Perdue and Loeffler also rescheduled their appearances, though they are expected to head to Washington for the COVID-19 relief vote."Trump to visit night before election – AP: "President Donald Trump says he’s planning another visit to Georgia to stump for the two Republican candidates in the state’s Senate runoffs. Trump announced on Twitter late Saturday that he would return on Jan. 4… In his tweet, Trump continued to express anger at Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over his loss in Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden in November. … ‘As badly as we were treated in Georgia by the ‘Republican’ Governor and ’Republican Secretary of State, we must have a massive victory for two great people, @KLoeffler & @sendavidperdue, on January 5th. I will be having a big Rally for them on Monday night, January 4th. WIN!’ Trump tweeted. It will be Trump’s second appearance for the candidates, after an earlier rally in Valdosta."One-fifth of Georgia voters have already cast ballots in runoffs – Fox News: "Nearly 1.5 million Georgians have already voted in the state’s twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, where the Republican majority in the Senate is at stake. The latest early voting numbers released Monday morning by state officials indicate that 19.3% – or nearly one-fifth of all registered voters in Georgia – have already cast a ballot in the two contests. More than 900,000 Georgians have cast a ballot through early in-person voting at polling stations that have been open for a week, with nearly 570,000 casting an absentee ballot. The high number of Georgians who have already voted in two Senate runoffs rivals the early turnout at this point in the November general election. A record 4.9 million voters in the state cast ballots in the general election. The elevated turnout indicates intense enthusiasm among both Democrats and Republicans."Ad spending has skyrocketed – NYT: "The ad wars in Georgia’s two Senate races, which have soared past the $450 million mark and saturated the airwaves at previously unheard-of levels, reflect the stakes of one of the most unusual special elections in American history — the opportunity to vote for control of the Senate through two statewide races, held at the same time, with a new administration’s agenda hanging in the balance. What began as an intensely negative, mudslinging ad campaign is now taking on increasingly national messages — that the Senate, and therefore the country, is what voters should consider as they cast their ballots, not necessarily who can best serve Georgia’s needs. … Mr. Biden’s ad, which began running on Friday, comes after weeks of ads from both Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock that have pitched the recovery from the pandemic as hinging on their election."Kraushaar: ‘Why Biden-supporting suburbanites will decide the Georgia runoffs’ – National Journal: "The big question is: How do suburban swing voters behave in a campaign when none of the candidates are appealing to middle-of-the-road moderate voters? Republicans can be heartened by the outcomes of several similarly situated congressional races this November, in which the conservative candidate prevailed over the progressive in a swing district. … Perdue and Loeffler have been trying to thread a political needle, indulging Trump’s incendiary rhetoric surrounding voter fraud enough to keep the base motivated while avoiding embracing his crazy conspiracy theories. History suggests that may be good enough for Republicans to narrowly win a traditionally conservative state. But if they lose, it would demonstrate there’s a limit to just how much insanity Republican-leaning voters are willing to stomach—even when the Senate majority is at stake."BIDEN TO RECEIVE FIRST DOSE OF COVID VACCINEAP: "President-elect Joe Biden will receive his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public the inoculations are safe. Monday’s event will come the same day that a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, will start arriving in states, joining Pfizer’s in the nation’s arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 317,000 people in the United States and upended life around the globe. ‘I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,’ Biden has said of his decision. Biden and his wife, Jill, will also thank health care workers at the facility where they receive the shots, his incoming press secretary has said."PLAY-BY-PLAYPergram: ‘The optics of getting the COVID-19 vaccine at the Capitol’ – Fox NewsAUDIBLE: RIBBITTTT "I’m not turning into a frog or doing flip-flops, somersaults, that kind of thing. It's just a vaccine, that's all." –  Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., in a video recorded after he received the coronavirus vaccine on Capitol Hill.Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.AND IT’S NOT FRAH-GEE-LAYMorristown [N.J.] Daily Record: "A ‘substantial’ leg carved from the stump of a dead cherry tree, fitted with a large black fishnet stocking and topped with a yellow black-fringed lampshade is bringing smiles to a neighborhood — just as it was intended to do. Steven C. Fleisch is the artist behind the wood carving that sits in front of his home on North Summit Avenue.  … The leg lamp, one of the most iconic and recognizable movie props, pays homage to the classic 1983 holiday movie ‘A Christmas Story.’ … Fleisch said a tall stump was left behind from one of the trees and a neighbor who knows he's an artist, suggested he carve it into the iconic leg lamp for Christmas. Sure, why not, he said before he picked up a 20-inch chainsaw and got to work. It took him a … total of 20 to 30 hours in total to complete the leg." AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…"Capitalism's vice is that it turns everything — even, say, a woman's first historic run for the White House — into cash. Communism's vice is that it turns everything — even, say, chess — into politics." – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on March 1, 1985.Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here

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