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Newsom promises unemployment insurance to California's federal workers – POLITICO

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Gov. Gavin Newsom said he believed it was necessary to help California workers who may be impacted by the shutdown. | Gregory Bull/AP Photo

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SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed Thursday that thousands of federal workers in California who are furloughed in the partial government shutdown will be made “quickly eligible” for unemployment insurance, urging them to apply for the benefit immediately.

“We’ll get you covered,’’ said Newsom, who made the statement while unveiling his $209 billion state budget.

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The Democratic California governor said he wanted to send a message to federal workers — estimated to be more than 250,000 in California — and said they should come into the Employment Development Department to apply as early as “today” to help get them through difficult financial times, as they begin going without paychecks Friday.

The governor said he couldn’t cite a specific dollar cost for those benefits, but believed it was necessary to help California workers who may be impacted by the shutdown.

The partial federal government shutdown is in its 20th day and is affecting approximately 800,000 workers, who are either furloughed or working without pay.

Newsom said he’s inviting the workers to apply and wants them to “know that you can do that.” But he says he’s also concerned about the impacts of the furloughs on California economy.

“I’m very worried about it,” he said. “I have my staff tasked with what other appropriations can we make. Can we make loans to TSA … to subsidize their salaries? I’m exploring every option.”

But when asked if the workers don’t get effectively paid twice by the benefits, Newsom said “we would make sure that we would address the issues” and other legal nuances.

“This is a fluid thing. If this thing lasts into weeks,’’ he said, the state will continue to examine other legal and social issues related to the shutdown.

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