Show us the money 💰

Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY

It's raining money and snowing flakes in the nation's capital. (Well, coronavirus aid checks are *almost* sorted, and the East Coast got quite a few inches of snow.)

It's Ashley with the news you need to know.

But first, did COVID-19 create a new kind of Dad? A vaccine means more Americans could soon return to work. Dads who got more time with kids may want more job flexibility and a new routine. 👨‍👧‍👦

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Checks and balances

Lawmakers closed in on a roughly $900 billion COVID-19 relief deal Wednesday that may include another round of aid checks and other much-needed financial benefits, according to a source familiar with negotiations. Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican, said Wednesday he believed checks of $600 or $700 were part of discussions, and the unemployment benefit was about $300 per week. Senate leaders seemed optimistic about the prospects of a deal Wednesday morning. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said lawmakers made "major headway" on closing a deal that could pass the House and Senate, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said they were on the "precipice" of an agreement.

Let it snow

As my East Coast colleagues have been discussing jubilantly all day: The big storm is here at last. After several days of buildup, what promises to be the most significant winter storm in years hit much of the East Coast on Wednesday. Snow is likely to fall all the way from Georgia to Maine, threatening very dangerous travel conditions and isolated power outages, the National Weather Service warned. A wide swath of the region was forecast to see a foot of snowfall, and some spots could see up to 2 feet, the Weather Service said. More than 50 million people were under a winter storm warning, including the New York City metro area, where more than a foot of snow was possible.

  • How often should I start my car and let it idle in cold weather? Answer: Don't.

Snow falls over the Washington Monument on Dec. 16 as a wintry mix of precipitation swept along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Snow falls over the Washington Monument on Dec. 16 as a wintry mix of precipitation swept along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

What everyone’s talking about

Calling all health care heroes: Have you received a vaccine?

When Dr. Steven Roumpf received the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, he didn't flinch, but the significance of the moment did not escape him. "It's a ray of hope," Roumpf said. "I've lost my perception of time. January feels like yesterday. Everything that's happened since March feels like years." Roumpf and emergency room nurse Joe Majchrowicz were the first two Indianapolis health care workers to receive the vaccine. But they aren't alone: The rollout of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has gone smoothly, and 2 million more are set to be delivered next week, the leaders of the government’s Operation Warp Speed said in an update Wednesday.

As health care workers get the COVID-19 vaccine, we want to hear your stories – and see your selfies. Email me at TheShortList@usatoday.com to share yours.

Dr. Steven Roumpf pumps his fist after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Mary Kay Foster, special pathogens program manager, on Dec. 16 at IU Health Neuroscience Center in Indianapolis. The hospital administered the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to medical workers.
Dr. Steven Roumpf pumps his fist after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Mary Kay Foster, special pathogens program manager, on Dec. 16 at IU Health Neuroscience Center in Indianapolis. The hospital administered the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to medical workers.

Thousands of international adoptees lack US citizenship. They’re trying to change that

Paperwork was lost. Parents were told children would automatically become citizens. Thousands of international adoptees came into the USA legally as children, grew up believing they were American citizens, worked, married and raised families only to find out they are not U.S. citizens. The National Council for Adoption and other organizations estimate that 15,000 to 18,000 adults who were adopted as children by U.S. citizens do not have citizenship. "You love this country, and it's taken from you," Michael Libberton, an adoptee from Colombia, told USA TODAY. "Every right you thought you had, you don't have."

Michael Libberton from Colombia was adopted as a child. He says he thought that made him an American citizen. "You love this country, and it's taken from you," he says after learning otherwise. "Every right you thought you had, you don't have."
Michael Libberton from Colombia was adopted as a child. He says he thought that made him an American citizen. "You love this country, and it's taken from you," he says after learning otherwise. "Every right you thought you had, you don't have."

Real quick

Suspected al-Shabaab operative charged in 9/11 style hijacking plot

A Kenyan man has been charged with plotting a Sept. 11-style hijacking attack in the U.S., federal prosecutors said in court documents unsealed Wednesday. Cholo Abdi Abdullah, a suspected operative of the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab, faces six terror-related offenses and was set to make his first court appearance Wednesday in New York. Acting Manhattan U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss called the alleged scheme a "chilling callback to the horrific attacks" nearly two decades ago that killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 relief deal, winter storm, vaccine, Trump: Wednesday's news