Government Shutdown: California Says It Will Pay Unemployment Benefits California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the Department of Labor's guidance that states not allow furloughed workers to collect unemployment "jaw-dropping."
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Defying Trump Administration, Calif. Offers Federal Workers Unemployment Benefits

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Defying Trump Administration, Calif. Offers Federal Workers Unemployment Benefits

Defying Trump Administration, Calif. Offers Federal Workers Unemployment Benefits

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/686468742/686849669" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Trump administration has told states to not offer unemployment benefits to federal employees who are working without pay during the government shutdown. At least three states, including Colorado, New Mexico and California, are defying the order. In Sacramento, Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler has more.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Ground transportation and all airport shuttles...

BEN ADLER, BYLINE: At the Sacramento International Airport Thursday afternoon, TSA workers gathered out of uniform to tell California Governor Gavin Newsom how the federal government shutdown has affected them. Here are Rebecca Kane of Sacramento and Miguel Pagarigan, who commutes an hour from Vacaville each day.

REBECCA KANE: Today, I visited a food bank for the first time in my life, and they were awesome, but I'm working. I want to work.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Right.

KANE: I just want to be paid for what I do.

MIGUEL PAGARIGAN: Because of the shutdown and basically not getting paid, I had to put a for-sale sign on my house on Sunday.

ADLER: TSA workers are among the more than 400,000 federal employees who are working without pay. Newsom criticized the U.S. Department of Labor for saying that because they're working, states can't give them unemployment aid.

NEWSOM: Which is so jaw-dropping and extraordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: That's not right. That's not right.

NEWSOM: Yeah, all right. So the good news is we're going to do it and shame on them.

ADLER: The 380,000 federal employees staying home during the shutdown are eligible for unemployment aid. Jim Nielsen, the top Republican on the state Senate's budget committee, says he respects that Newsom is acting from the goodness of his heart. But he cautions...

JIM NIELSEN: If we start doing too many things California alone, making it our burden and responsibility, it's going to make some real problems in the future for California.

ADLER: In other words, Nielsen added, go ahead this time, but don't make a habit of it. For NPR News, I'm Ben Adler in Sacramento.

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