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The Latest: Sununu says state is helping federal workers

January 25, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to help federal workers in New Hampshire affected by the partial government shutdown(all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s office says his administration has already taken some of the steps Democrats are proposing to help workers affected by the partial government shutdown.

Top legislative Democrats on Friday urged Sununu to join other states that have begun issuing unemployment benefits to those who are working without pay during the shutdown. Sununu’s office says that would require Congressional approval and said Democrats should work with the delegation to get a waiver.

As for the other actions, Sununu’s office said the state already is providing heating assistance to federal employees and has ensured that school lunch and other federally funded programs are protected through February. The governor’s office said while it has been working nonstop since December to mitigate the shutdown’s effects, Democrats appear to have just woken up to the problem.

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10:45 a.m.

Democratic leaders in the New Hampshire Legislature want Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to take immediate action to help workers affected by the partial government shutdown.

Senate President Donna Soucy and House Speaker Steve Shurtleff had said earlier this week they were exploring emergency legislation, but on Friday they said that would take several weeks and workers can’t wait that long. They are urging Sununu to take several steps, including allowing roughly 1,600 people who are working without pay to collect unemployment benefits from the state.

Some states already are doing that, despite warnings from the federal labor department that doing so isn’t allowed.

Sununu’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He said Wednesday he’ll consider any fiscally responsible action that doesn’t put the state at risk.

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