While the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all fall under the financial purview of the Department of Defense and will not see an interruption of their pay if the partial government shutdown continues beyond Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security. As a result, 42,000 Coast Guard members tasked with securing the nation’s coastline will be forced to work without pay until the government is up and running again.
“Unless legislation is passed by Friday, Dec. 28, our military workforce will not receive our regularly scheduled pay check for 31 Dec.,” Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said in a pre-prepared statement on Wednesday.
That 42,000 figure represents about 90% of the Coast Guard workforce, all of whom would be expected to continue their daily duties despite missing their upcoming pay check. The remainder of the force would be furloughed without pay. According to planning documents and past precedent, border security and coastal rescue operations would continue uninterrupted throughout the shutdown — the men and women tasked with continuing these operations would just do so without pay.
Most of the Coast Guard’s civilian work force have already been furloughed without pay, with only a few that are considered “essential” remaining on staff despite the pay freeze.
The president first assumed responsibility for the partial shut down, before placing the blame on Democratic leadership as negotiations stalled over funding for the Southern border wall the president campaigned on. The deadlock is primarily over $5 billion the president wants for construction of a portion of the wall, while Democratic leaders contend that there are other, more cost-effective means of securing the border. Some have taken the president to task on previous claims that he would get Mexico to fund the wall, though the president himself has moved past those concerns.
The Wall is different than the 25 Billion Dollars in Border Security. The complete Wall will be built with the Shutdown money plus funds already in hand. The reporting has been inaccurate on the point. The problem is, without the Wall, much of the rest of Dollars are wasted!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
As the debate over shutting down the government in order to fund the wall plays out in Washington, those tasked with security and rescue operations along the nation’s coasts are feeling left out in the cold. One Coast Guard spouse took Twitter by storm on Christmas by drawing attention to the Coast Guard’s predicament, though she has since declined the opportunity to be interviewed by the media.
My husband is active duty Coast Guard. Everyone thinks the military is getting paid during the shutdown, but the Coast Guard is facing no pay on the 1st due to being DHS and not DoD. We live in NYC, pay over $2K/month in rent, have a toddler and one on the way.#ShutdownStories
— Katy⚓ (@katyjb88) December 24, 2018
All the drama may be for naught, however. If an agreement can be made by the end of the day Friday, Coast Guard families across the country will be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they’ll receive the paychecks many contend should never have been held in the balance of a political standoff in the first place.