**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: McConnell blocks quick vote on Trump’s $2K checks - Biden addresses nation on coronavirus - 2.3M early ballots cast in Georgia one week out - You serious Clark?
MCCONNELL BLOCKS QUICK VOTE ON TRUMP’S $2K CHECKS
Fox News: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will address President Trump's request to increase stimulus checks sent to Americans to $2,000, but did not commit to pushing the issue as he blocked attempts by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to put the House bill on $2,000 stimulus checks up for quick consideration. That led Trump to launch a Twitter broadside against Senate Republicans, warning them that if they don't have a ‘death wish’ they'll back the boosted checks. Schumer's request would have passed the stimulus checks Tuesday afternoon. Sanders' request would have set a vote on the bill for stimulus checks Wednesday afternoon. … Notably, McConnell did not promise action on the $2,000 stimulus checks. Whether the Senate even gets to a cloture vote -- a vote to end debate and proceed to a final vote -- on the stimulus checks will be up to McConnell."
Loeffler, Perdue back $2,000 stimulus checks as Sanders keeps pressure on - Fox News: "Both Republican Georgia senators endorsed President Trump's push for $2,000 coronavirus stimulus checks, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., looking to stall the Senate until it votes on the bigger payments. Sanders, though, reportedly has an ulterior motive in keeping Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue occupied in the days before their respective runoff elections. The Senate is looking to override President Trump's veto of a defense spending bill, but Sanders said he will filibuster this until they vote on whether to increase the relief payments from $600 to $2,000. The House has already agreed to do so. … By filibustering and stalling the process, Sanders could theoretically keep the Senate in Washington, D.C., during the holiday week leading to New Year's Day, which would prevent Loeffler and Perdue from campaigning in their home states before the Jan. 5 elections."
Other Republican senators feel pressure - Axios: "It's still an uphill battle. But Republican senators are feeling more pressure from constituents — pumped by Trump — to do more. It could be too politically risky for some Republican senators to vote ‘no.’ If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ‘brings it to the floor, it might get 60. Then Trump can claim victory,’ said a Republican source who provided a breakdown of how the vote could go. ‘I am concerned about the debt, but working families have been hurt badly by the pandemic,’ Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted Monday. ‘This is why I supported $600 direct payments to working families & if given the chance will vote to increase the amount.’ Senators to watch: Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — with one or two other spending hardliners needed."
Trump attacks party for override vote on defense bill - AP: "President Donald Trump lashed out at congressional Republicans on Tuesday after the House easily voted to override his veto of a defense policy bill. A total of 109 Republicans, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of GOP leadership, joined with Democrats on Monday to approve the override, which would be the first of Trump’s presidency. The Senate is expected to consider the measure later this week. Trump slammed GOP lawmakers on Twitter, charging that ‘Weak and tired Republican ‘leadership’ will allow the bad Defense Bill to pass.’ Trump called the override vote a ‘disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech. Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve NDAA until fixed!!!’ The 322-87 vote in the House sends the override effort to the Senate, where the exact timing of a vote is uncertain."
THE RULEBOOK: BLESSINGS ABOUND
"A strong sense of the value and blessings of union induced the people, at a very early period, to institute a federal government to preserve and perpetuate it." – John Jay, Federalist No. 2
TIME OUT: VROOM, VROOM
Smithsonian: "‘I treat Bloodhound as a very low-flying airplane,’ says Ron Ayers, the chief aerodynamicist for the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project—a Mach-busting car designed to exceed 800 mph. ‘We’re trying to go faster at ground level than any jet fighter has,’ says the project’s driver, Andy Green, a retired Royal Air Force fighter pilot. ‘No jet airplane has demonstrated sustained speed at low-level over 1,000 mph.’ Ayers and Green are no strangers to land-speed records. They were part of the team that worked on the Thrust SSC (supersonic car), which blazed across Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in 1997, setting the current world land-speed record of 763 mph. Ayers oversaw the aerodynamics and Green, who has thousands of hours in F-4 Phantoms and Eurofighter Typhoons, drove the car. ‘Car’ is almost a misnomer for the pointy-nose Bloodhound. … As hard as the team is working to give Bloodhound enough record-setting speed, they must also ensure that the car can safely decelerate."
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM 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 HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.
BIDEN ADDRESSES NATION ON CORONAVIRUS
WaPo: "President-elect Joe Biden plans to deliver an address on the coronavirus pandemic as the nation experiences what his chief medical adviser on the issue, Anthony S. Fauci, described Tuesday as a surge in cases ‘that has just gotten out of control in many respects.’ Biden’s remarks, planned Tuesday afternoon in Wilmington, Del., are expected to be his most extensive comments since early this month, when he laid out a plan for his first 100 days in office that included imploring all Americans to wear masks. Fauci, appearing on CNN on Tuesday morning, lamented what he expects to be a post-holiday increase in cases and the strong possibility than January’s caseload will exceed even that of December. ‘You just have to assume it’s going to get worse,’ Fauci said. Fauci also acknowledged that the rollout of vaccines was not reaching as many Americans as quickly as the 20 million that Trump administration had pledged by the end of the month."
Harris emphasizes vaccine is ‘painless’ and ‘safe’ - Fox News: "Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday publicly took the recently approved coronavirus vaccine. The vice president-elect received her first of two shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at United Medical Center in the southeast portion of the District of Columbia, in an event that was carried live on all three major national cable news networks. ‘I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. It is relatively painless, it happens really quickly. It is safe,’ Harris emphasized after receiving her shot. The vice president-elect stressed, ‘This is about saving lives. It's literally about saving lives. I trust the scientists, and it is the scientists who created and approved this vaccine everyone. So I urge everyone, when it is your turn, get vaccinated. It's about saving your life, the life of your family members, and the life of your community.’"
Traditional post-inauguration lunch cancelled for virus concerns - Roll Call: "The century-old tradition of the post-inauguration lunch is the latest pandemic casualty as COVID-19 continues to upend the ceremonies around the Jan. 20 swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden. The Inaugural Luncheon tradition, which has been around since the late 1800s, has evolved into a three-course meal and musical performance in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall for the new Cabinet, the Supreme Court and congressional leadership. The hall, however, will be quiet after this January’s scaled-back inauguration, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Tuesday. ‘The health and safety of all guests attending the ceremonies has remained a top priority throughout the planning process,’ Paige Waltz, the committee’s communications director, said in a statement."
2.3M EARLY BALLOTS CAST IN GEORGIA ONE WEEK OUT
Fox News: "With one week to go until Election Day in Georgia, more than 2.3 million people have already voted in the state's twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, with the Republican majority in the Senate at stake. The latest early voting numbers released Tuesday morning by state officials indicate that nearly a third (30.2%) of all registered voters in Georgia have already cast a ballot in the two contests. More than 1.5 million Georgians have cast a ballot through early in-person voting at polling stations that have been open for two weeks. Thursday is the last day for in-person, early voting at polling stations. Separately, more than 800,000 voters have cast an absentee ballot. With one week to go until the runoff elections, the high number of Georgians who have already voted comes close to rivaling 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."
Georgia federal judge blocks voter purge in two counties - Politico: "A federal judge in Georgia on Monday ordered two counties to reverse a decision removing more than 4,000 voters from the rolls ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. The judge, Leslie Abrams Gardner … concluded that the counties appeared to have improperly relied on unverified change-of-address data to invalidate registrations in the two counties. The bulk of the registrations that the counties sought to rescind, more than 4,000, were in Muscogee County, which Biden won handily in November. An additional 150 were from Ben Hill County, which Trump won by a wide margin. The suit, brought by national Democratic Party attorney Marc Elias’ group Majority Forward, followed an effort to challenge the lengthy roster of voters simply because their registrations appeared to match U.S. Postal Service change-of address records."
AUDIBLE: CHECK BACK LATER
"This is a moment in which what used to be in is out and what used to be out is in. Really, (what) the Republican movement seems to be at the moment — and I think it’s momentary — is just kind of ‘own the libs, own the left.’" – Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., talking with the Chicago Tribune.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
YOU SERIOUS CLARK?
UPI: "A Kentucky man showed off his unusual method of clearing snow from his driveway with a video showing him using a flamethrower to remove the unwanted show. Timothy Browning posted a video to Facebook showing him dressed as Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while drinking beer and using a flamethrower to clear snow from his driveway. ‘Browning snow services. God bless Merica,’ Browning wrote in the Facebook post. Browning's unusual snow removal was also caught on camera from the porch of a neighboring home."
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
"The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no." – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in The Weekly Standard on Oct. 19, 2009.
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.