Democrats continue efforts to make sure furloughed government workers have access to help

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Maryland Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown is introducing legislation to make sure that federal workers who are included in the government shutdown but still forced to work are eligible for unemployment benefits.

As it stands now, those unpaid workers who are being forced to stay on the job are what’s called “excepted,” meaning under current guidelines they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. “We have to get cash flowing back into these federal employees’ homes,” Brown said Wednesday. “This a real hardship.”

Despite a guidance from the Department of Labor to the states telling them these workers aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, California, Colorado, and Vermont are paying them anyway. Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, and Andrew Cuomo of New York have pressed the DoL to determine if federal law (as opposed to government regulations) really does prevent the payment of benefits to these workers, and if so, to “work expeditiously with congressional leaders on a change to the statute to allow our states the ability to offer this critical assistance to workers and their families.”

Here’s that change. Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has the companion legislation in the Senate. This bill needs to be fast-tracked to the House floor and passed. That would put added pressure on Mitch McConnell to fix this mess.

Call your Republican senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to reopen government. Don’t stop until this is over.

Source: dailykos