Dingell, Upton: Give jobless benefits to federal workers

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 21:14:52-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Democrat and Republican in Michigan’s congressional delegation are proposing legislation to let states provide unemployment benefits to federal employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown.

Those workers currently cannot collect the benefits, under guidance to states from the U.S. Labor Department. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton introduced the bill Wednesday.

Dingell, a Democrat, says extending unemployment benefits to the federal employees “is the right thing to do.” Upton, a Republican, says no federal worker “should be punished because elected officials keep dropping the ball.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other Democratic governors last week asked the Trump administration for authorization to offer unemployment benefits to federal workers who continue to work. But the Labor Department said they would not be eligible unless new legislation is enacted.