42,000 Coast Guard members miss first paycheck due to government shutdown
"The Congress canít get their act together. The president canít get their act together, but your community will take care of you," one Coast Guard spose said.
Jan. 15, 2019, 10:30 AM PST
By Doha Madani

The nation's 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck Tuesday, as the only military branch to work without pay during the government shutdown.

Because the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, it is getting no funding during the shutdown. All other parts of the military are under the still-funded Department of Defense.

Coast Guard members, reservists and retirees received checks on Dec. 31 as part of a short-term solution that gave them the remainder of their pay and allowances for December.

But that quick fix did not extend to the Jan. 15 pay period.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz released a statement to active-duty members addressing the loss of pay.

"To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nationís history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations," his statement said.

He also announced a $15 million donation by USAA Bank, which serves military members and family, to the service's nonprofit relief organization, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. The American Red Cross will aid in distributing the money to military and civilians employees of the service who need assistance.

Active-duty Coast Guard members continue to work without pay on essential operations "that provide for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns," such as search-and-rescue, securing the nation's ports and coastlines, other law enforcement duties and environmental response.

A bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress on Jan. 4, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, which would allow members of the Coast Guard, civilian employees, and contractors to be paid throughout the remainder of the shutdown.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement that "hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families are being harmed by the partial government shutdown."

"This situation is especially unfair for those who must work without pay, including members of the Coast Guard who continue to perform critical national security and lifesaving duties without knowing when they will receive their next paycheck," she said.

The Department of Homeland Security is working on another solution, "a narrow legislative fix," to pay active-duty Coast Guard so there is parity between them and other military branches, a Homeland Security official told NBC News Monday night.

In the interim, families of active-duty members as well as of civilian Coast Guard workers who have been furloughed have looked toward other forms of support. The shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history with no end in sight.

NBC Bay Area


More than 200 families turn out as the East Bay Coast Guard Spouses' Club help sponsor a food drive in Alameda open to all active duty Coast Guard members, families and civilian employees furloughed due to the government shutdown. http://nbcbay.com/kPkgBOk


9:30 PM - Jan 13, 2019

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The East Bay Coast Guard Spouses Club held a food drive Sunday in Alameda, California, for Coast Guard members, dependents, and civilian workers who have been furloughed. Club member Nicole Lauer told NBC News about 186 families came.