Tens of millions of unemployed Americans are losing a benefit that helped keep them afloat.
A $600 weekly jobless benefit from the federal government that became a lifeline for tens of millions of unemployed Americans, while also helping prop up the coronavirus-ravaged economy, expired at midnight as officials in Washington failed to agree on a new relief bill.
Joblessness remains at record levels, with some 30 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits. More than 1.4 million newly filed for state unemployment benefits last week — the 19th straight week that the tally had exceeded one million, an unheard-of figure before the pandemic.
Nearly 11 percent of Americans have said that they live in households where there is not enough to eat, according to a recent Census Bureau survey, and more than a quarter have missed a rent or mortgage payment.
The benefit’s expiration will force Louise Francis, who worked as a banquet cook at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans for nearly two decades before being furloughed last spring, to get by on just state unemployment benefits, which for her come to $247 a week.
“With the $600, you could see your way a little bit,” said Ms. Francis, 59. “You could feel a little more comfortable. You could pay three or four bills and not feel so far behind.”
The aid lapsed as Republicans and Democrats in Washington remained far apart on what the next round of virus relief should look like.
Democrats wanted to extend the $600 weekly payments through the end of the year, as part of an expansive $3 trillion aid package that would also help state and local governments. Republicans, worried that the $600 benefit left some people with more money than when they were working, sought to scale it back to $200 per week as part of a $1 trillion proposal.
At a White House news conference, Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief of staff, accused Democrats of playing “politics as usual.” At the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, declared that administration officials “do not understand the gravity of the situation.”
Both said they planned to continue discussions, possibly into the weekend.
As the deadline neared, Republicans proposed continuing the $600 benefit for one week while talks continue. Democrats rejected the short-term extension.
“When you have a six-day, one-week extension on a provision, it is usually — has always been — to accommodate a legislative topic if you’re on the verge of having an agreement,” Ms. Pelosi said. “Why don’t we just get the job done? Why don’t we just get the job done?”
The leader of a secretive religious sect in South Korea was arrested early on Saturday on charges of embezzling church money and conspiring to impede efforts to fight the coronavirus.
The rapid spread of the virus this winter among worshipers of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, a city in the southeast, briefly made South Korea home to the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak outside China. As of Friday, more than a third of the 14,300 coronavirus cases known to the government were members of Shincheonji or their contacts.
Prosecutors say that Lee Man-hee, the church’s founder, failed to fully disclose the number of worshipers and their gathering places. Seven church officials were indicted last month on the same charge.
Mr. Lee, 88, has also been accused of embezzling 5.6 billion won, or $4.7 million, from church funds to build a luxurious “peace palace” north of Seoul. The church has broadly denied all the charges against him. He could face years in prison if convicted.
Intense criticism from the South Korean public forced Mr. Lee to apologize in March.
In a statement on Saturday, the church said that Mr. Lee had never intended to hamper efforts to control the epidemic, and that he had only expressed concern over the scale of government demands for worshipers’ data.
“He has emphasized the importance of disease control and urged the church members to cooperate with the authorities,” the church said. “We will do our best to let the truth be known through trial.”
But parents who accused the church of luring and brainwashing their children with its unorthodox teachings welcomed his arrest on Saturday, calling Mr. Lee a “religious con artist.”
Here are some other developments from around the globe:
As of Saturday morning, Mexico’s confirmed death toll of 46,688 was the world’s third highest behind the United States and Brazil. Britain ranked fourth, with 569 fewer deaths. The number of new reported infections in Mexico has been climbing since May and topped 8,000 on Friday, bringing the country’s caseload to nearly 425,000.
An outbreak of the coronavirus in Vietnam claimed a third victim on Saturday, a 68-year-old in the central city of Danang who also had late-stage leukemia. The country, which reported its first virus death on Friday, went more than three months without a case of local transmission before the new outbreak began spreading from Danang in late July. It now has 558 cases, although many are returnees in quarantine.
On Saturday, Japan announced 1,579 new cases, breaking a record set the day before. The country now has more than 1,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, reporting 1,011 on Saturday.
The main physicians’ organization in the Phillipines, the College of Physicians, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday to lock down the Manila metropolitan area for two weeks. The appeal was made shortly after two Manila hospitals were closed temporarily because so many staff members were infected. On Friday, the country reported 4,063 new cases, its highest daily total so far.
Florida’s Atlantic coast braced for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias this weekend after the storm raked the Bahamas, parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Preparations for the storm were complicated by the state’s battle with the coronavirus, which could make evacuating homes and entering community shelters especially risky. Friday was the third consecutive day that Florida set its record for the most deaths reported in a single day, according to a New York Times database.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference on Friday that the division of emergency management had been working at its most active level since March, “allowing them to actively plan for hurricane season even while responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Early in the pandemic, the governor said, the division created a reserve of protective equipment for hurricane season, including 20 million masks, 22 million gloves and 1.6 million face shields.
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Reporting was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Johnny Diaz, Jeffrey Gettleman, Jason Guttierez, Shawn Hubler, Mike Ives, Liliana Michelena and Matt Phillips.