Pelosi, Schumer urge McConnell to start coronavirus relief negotiations amid uptick in cases

The two top congressional Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Ky.) to start negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package, as the country sees an uptick in cases. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Democrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) in a letter to McConnell on Monday accused Republicans of being "missing in action."

"Americans need and deserve bold action now. We have overcome larger problems than the COVID-19 pandemic but not without powerful and effective actions by our government," they wrote.


"It is unacceptable that the Senate would recess without addressing this urgent issue. On behalf of the millions of American families who desperately need Congressional action, we demand you change your mind and decide to work with us for the good of the country," the top Democrats added. 

The letter to McConnell comes as the United States is seeing a new spike in cases, causing some states to reimpose social distancing restrictions and raising new concerns about the ability to control the spread of the virus. The United States reached its highest one-day increase Friday, documenting 45,498 new cases, according to The New York Times.

Congress is set to leave town by Thursday for a two-week July 4 break and will not return to Washington, D.C., until July 20. 

Senate Republicans are expected to wait until after the break to start negotiating and drafting the next potential relief bill. Though House Democrats passed a roughly $3 trillion bill earlier this year, it has been declared dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

McConnell, speaking in Kentucky on Friday, told reporters that a future coronavirus bill would have to come together in July and that the Senate would have to take the lead on drafting it. 

"If there's a final rescue package, that's when it will develop and it will start, once again, in my office. ... The House efforts are simply not practical," he said.