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House returns with pandemic, shutdown, marijuana on a full agenda

The House is set to return from a monthlong recess Monday, launching a congressional sprint on a number of must-pass bills to avert a government shutdown. Both the House and Senate only have several weeks left in session before the November election. The small window, meshed with essential legislation, a global pandemic and a presidential election, has left Congress with a jam-packed schedule. The House also aims to tackle topics beyond the expected, like the federal legalization of marijuana. As for COVID-19 relief, optimism on Capitol Hill has faded fast. Americans weathering the deep-rooted impacts of the coronavirus pandemic appear increasingly unlikely to see any additional financial relief from Congress before the November election. 

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined with other members of Congress for a moment of silence to observe the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Friday. (Sept. 11)

AP Domestic

Trump to visit California as wildfires ravage the state, western US

President Donald Trump will travel to California Monday for an update on the wildfires that have scorched parts of the state. Trump, who publicly addressed the fires for the first time last week, approved a major disaster declaration for California, which has experienced some of the largest fires in its history this year. But the visit also comes on the heels of Trump’s blistering criticism last month where he said California’s forest fires burn because the state is not “cleaning its floors.” At least 35 people have died — 24 in California, 10 in Oregon and one in Washington state — since a rash of fires began burning in drought conditions a month ago. No one knows yet exactly how many homes have been destroyed. 

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Evacuees who fled a wildfire east of Salem, Oregon earlier this week are returning to assess their losses in a desolate and smoke-choked landscape. Authorities were letting in a handful of residents in Lyons, Oregon and Mill City, Oregon. (Sept. 12)

AP Domestic

Sally forecast to become hurricane before landfall near Louisiana border

A report from the National Hurricane Center early Monday morning said the center of Tropical Storm Sally will approach the northern Gulf Coast within the hurricane warning area Monday night and Tuesday. The hurricane center also said strengthening is expected, and Sally is forecast to become a hurricane by Monday night, with additional strengthening possible before the center crosses the northern Gulf Coast. The upcoming storm triggered evacuations in Louisiana over the weekend. “It’s possible we could see winds of 100 mph, with gusts to 120 along the coast as Sally makes shore,” said Ben Schott, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in New Orleans. The hurricane center warned Sally could bring rainfall along the Gulf Coast of 8 to 16 inches with isolated amounts of 24 inches, as well as life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force winds. 

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‘Monday Night Football’ returns with a doubleheader

A double dose of “Monday Night Football” wraps up an opening weekend that has been anything but ordinary across the NFL. Like nearly all of Sunday’s games, neither Monday night contest will feature fans in the stands, and social justice messages figure to be a core theme in the games. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make his return after missing nearly all of the 2019 season as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New York Giants in the early game, starting at 7:15 p.m. ET. The late game, starting at 10:10 p.m. ET, pits the Denver Broncos against one of last season’s biggest surprises, the Tennessee Titans. Both games will air on ESPN and the early game will feature the new regular three-man ‘MNF’ booth of play-by-play man Steve Levy and color commentators Louis Riddick and Brian Griese. 

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SportsPulse: The first NFL Sunday of 2020 was unlike any we had ever seen before. While stadiums lacked fans there certainly wasn’t any lack of drama. Mackenzie Salmon overreacts to all the biggest storylines from Week 1.

USA TODAY

‘Jeopardy!’ returns for its 37th season 

For those in need of some normalcy (everyone), Monday night marks the return of ‘Jeopardy!’ for its 37th season. Longtime host Alex Trebek, who has been battling pancreatic cancer, recorded the show without a studio audience – and you might notice some changes to the set: More space between the contestants as well as a safe distance between them and Trebek. If you’re a fan of ‘Jeopardy!’ champion Ken Jennings, you’ll be happy to hear he’s now working as a consulting producer for the new season and will be around to present his own special video categories. To find out what time the show airs in your area, visit jeopardy.com/watch.

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Sony says Jennings will present his own special video categories, develop projects, and serve as a general ambassador for the show.

USA TODAY

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