'Polar night,' NFL championship games, coronavirus pandemic: 5 things to know this weekend

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Editors, USA TODAY
·4 min read
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Lawmakers look to head-off gridlock over Biden's COVID stimulus plan

Moderate lawmakers, many of whom played a pivotal role in brokering a bipartisan compromise during the last round of coronavirus relief negotiations, are expected to meet Sunday as President Joe Biden's administration attempts to pass an ambitious legislative agenda. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan and several other significant proposals on immigration and infrastructure spending that will require congressional approval. But in a Senate split 50-50 between both parties, Democrats will need Republican votes in order to pass any major proposals — at least ten Republican votes are needed to break a filibuster and advance any legislation, assuming all Democrats vote for the legislation. The group invited to a call with National Economic Council Director Brian Deese includes Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Angus King, I-Maine, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y..

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Arizona's Republican party votes to kick out Cindy McCain

After losing Arizona’s 11 electoral votes and a U.S. Senate seat to Democrats, the Arizona Republican Party appears ready to double down on its slash-and-burn, Trumpian strategy by seeking to punish the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, who endorsed Joe Biden during the election. When state party members meet on Saturday, the party will likely settle a score by censuring Cindy McCain, a lifelong Republican who helped Biden carry the state by the narrowest margin in the nation. If it passes, she will become the second McCain to be censured: the party issued a similar denouncement of her husband in 2014.

Doctors said she wouldn't survive COVID-19. She did.

We can all use some good news. Peggy and Steve Jahn will renew their wedding vows on Sunday in Marysville, Washington. Peggy, 62, spent 42 days in the hospital, 25 of them on a ventilator, after she was infected with COVID-19 in March, weeks after the first known coronavirus case was confirmed in her home of Snohomish County. She lost her hair and had to learn to walk again after losing muscle while in paralysis on the ventilator. The first time she worked with physical therapists, Peggy could barely lift her toes. Before she was discharged, she had to walk 25 steps. Earlier this week, as the nation observed a moment of silence for the 400,000 souls lost to COVID-19 in the U.S., Peggy and Steve celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. On Sunday, they're renewing their vows outside their church.

'Polar night' in this Alaskan town ends

The sun will rise again after 66 days in Utqiaġvik, Alaska Saturday. For this Alaskan town, the polar night is a normal phenomenon that happens every year because of the tilt of the Earth's axis and "none of the Sun's disc is visible above the horizon at all. Some Alaskans prepare by taking Vitamin D supplements or relying on a "happy light," which mimics daylight, Carson Frank, an associate at the University of Alaska Museum of the North told USA TODAY. The polar night only happens within the polar circles," according to timeanddate.com.

NFL's Super Bowl teams will be decided Sunday

Will Tom Brady make a 10th Super Bowl appearance? Will the Kansas City Chiefs be in position to become back-to-back Super Bowl champions? Those will be among the questions answered when the NFL holds its conference championship games Sunday. The Green Bay Packers will host Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox). Brady, 43, is in his first season in Tampa Bay after going 6-3 in the Super Bowl with the Patriots. He'll have tough competition in Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, 37, who is looking for his second Super Bowl appearance (also 2011) after throwing a league-best 48 touchdown passes. Later in the evening, the Chiefs will face the Buffalo Bills in the AFC title game (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS) in a matchup of the league’s top two offenses. Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes was cleared from concussion protocol Friday after being hurt in the divisional round. Buffalo is seeking its first Super Bowl appearance since the Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL playoffs, COVID stimulus talks: 5 things to know this weekend