Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) held a news conference in Manhattan on Sunday to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow the Senate to push through a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill. Credit: Craig Ruttle

New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Sunday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work with Democrats on a COVID-19 relief bill as the pandemic enters an alarming new phase across the country.

Speaking to reporters in Manhattan, the Democratic lawmakers said McConnell and other congressional Republicans should accept the results of the presidential election, despite President Donald Trump’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud, and focus now on helping Americans impacted by the surging public health crisis.

"The Republicans are spending all their time saying the election wasn’t legitimate," Schumer said. "We know it's legitimate. Republicans: Joe Biden won, Donald Trump lost. Now work with us to get a COVID bill done."

The Democrat-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have been deadlocked for months over a new coronavirus relief package. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have pushed for a $2 trillion package that would include direct financial aid to hard-hit states like New York. McConnell has also said that new relief legislation is necessary but proposed a narrower $500 billion measure.

"I don't think the current situation demands a multitrillion-dollar package," McConnell said last week. "I think it should be highly targeted."

Efforts to break the stalemate come amid rising numbers of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus in New York and nationwide. More than 163,000 new infections and more than 1,300 deaths were recorded in the United States on Saturday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Schumer and Gillibrand said a new relief bill should include financial assistance to small businesses and state and local governments, direct cash payments to Americans and money for unemployment insurance, food stamps and rental assistance, among other measures.

"Families are struggling," Gillibrand said. "We need to get back to the negotiation table."

Trump on Saturday also expressed support for further pandemic aid.

"Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill," Trump tweeted. "Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!"

The appeal was sandwiched between many more tweets from Trump disputing the results of his failed reelection bid against Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Most congressional Republicans, including McConnell, have not acknowledged Biden’s victory, arguing that lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign over the results should be allowed to play out first.

In an appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, called on Congress to pass a bipartisan relief bill before Biden’s inauguration in January.

"There's a lot of things that are going to have to wait until Joe Biden is president, but this is not one of them," Klain said.

Biden spoke with Schumer and Pelosi on Friday, Klain said, "about the need to get urgent action." Without federal aid, state and local governments were on the brink of laying off police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers.

"These layoffs are coming — not just in so-called blue states, but red states also," Klain said. "This is a national crisis. It needs bipartisan national action now."

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

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