On Tuesday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) urging for the renewal of economic stimulus talks, citing the rising number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the country.  Leader McConnell, who has taken over Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s role as the Republican lead on COVID-19 stimulus talks, said he has not spoken to Democrats about a relief package, which he says should be the smaller version that Senate Republicans support, rather than the $2.4 trillion Democratic plan.  In addition, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said on Tuesday that he is drafting what he hopes will be a bipartisan COVID-19 aid bill with targeted provisions on areas of common ground, such as funding for vaccine relief and development, replenishing the Payment Protection Program, and extending federal unemployment insurance.  Senator Portman said that funding to accelerate vaccine development and distribution is his top priority because, in his view, “it’s a much better solution than lockdowns.”  He also indicated that there is bipartisan support for “some important tax relief that’s out there,” although he did not elaborate on the specific provisions he was referring to.  Senator Portman also did not mention any Democrats he was talking to by name.