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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 McConnellSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE (R-Ky.) to start negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package, as the country sees an uptick in cases. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump to lift Sudan terror sponsor designation Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts The 2016 and 2020 Senate votes are about the same thing: constitutionalist judges 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.

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"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.