Massachusetts weighing offering benefits to federal workers

Gov. Baker says his administration is exploring ways to offer state unemployment benefits to federal workers and contractors who are not being paid because of the partial federal government shutdown.

Demonstrators protest the partial government shutdown during a rally organized by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, outside the Capitol building in Washington, Jan. 10, 2019.

BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says his administration is exploring ways to offer state unemployment benefits to federal workers and contractors who are not being paid because of the partial federal government shutdown.

Baker said there are about 47,000 federal employees in Massachusetts, many of whom have been furloughed and are going without pay. Thousands of contractors are in the same position.

Baker said Monday after a meeting with state legislative leaders that there are challenges to offering unemployment benefits to federal workers — including how to charge the federal government for the cost of helping out their workers who aren’t being paid through no fault of their own.

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Baker also had harsh words for all involved in the impasse, saying “my pox is on all the houses down there.”

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