Democratic N.H. Lawmakers Consider Legislation To Give Benefits To Furloughed Federal Workers

Jan 21, 2019

Credit NHPR Staff

Democrats in Concord say they are exploring emergency legislation that would allow furloughed federal workers in the state to file for unemployment benefits.

Senate President Donna Soucy and House Speaker Steve Shurtleff announced on Monday--the 31st day of the partial government shutdown--that they are considering an emergency bill that would permit the state’s Employment Security office to issue unemployment benefits to impacted federal workers. Currently, those residents are not eligible for benefits because they are technically still employed.

“We will not let Granite Staters suffer because of the President’s ill-advised and uncompromising position on the border wall,” said the Democratic leaders in a joint statement.

States around the country are pursuing similar short-term responses, including Michigan, New York, Connecticut and California.

Soucy and Shurtleff also say they are considering allocating surplus state funds to make up for lost federal funding during the shutdown, but they didn’t offer details on the amount of money or which programs could receive it.

There are approximately 4,000 federal civilian employees in the state, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Governor Chris Sununu’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.