There are a lot of things to be upset about with the current government shutdown…but the one that gets to me this morning is that for the “first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations“.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz released a statement to active-duty members addressing the loss of pay:
To the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard,
Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled mid-month paycheck. To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations. Your senior leadership, including Secretary Nielsen, remains fully engaged and we will maintain a steady flow of communications to keep you updated on developments.
I recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this situation places on you and your family, and we are working closely with service organizations on your behalf. To this end, I am encouraged to share that Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) has received a $15 million donation from USAA to support our people in need. In partnership with CGMA, the American Red Cross will assist in the distribution of these funds to our military and civilian workforce requiring assistance.
I am grateful for the outpouring of support across the country, particularly in local communities, for our men and women. It is a direct reflection of the American public’s sentiment towards their United States Coast Guard; they recognize the sacrifice that you and your family make in service to your country.
It is also not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck—we are confronting this challenge together.
The strength of our Service has, and always will be, our people. You have proven time and again the ability to rise above adversity. Stay the course, stand the watch, and serve with pride. You are not, and will not, be forgotten.
Admiral Karl L. Schultz
There is a bill in the U.S. Senate that needs to be passed immediately to address this situation: S.21 – Pay Our Coast Guard Act. This is a bi-partisan bill that has the following sponsors:
Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]*
Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA]*
Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]*
Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]*
Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]*
Sen. Hyde-Smith, Cindy [R-MS]*
Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK]
Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
Sen. Johnson, Ron [R-WI]
Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]
Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]
Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA]
Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH]
Sen. Hirono, Mazie K. [D-HI]
Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]
Sen. Merkley, Jeff [D-OR]
Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]
Sen. Rounds, Mike [R-SD]
Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]
Sen. Murphy, Christopher [D-CT]
Sen. Scott, Rick [R-FL]
13 Democrats and 10 Republicans have co-sponsored this legislation. I have to admit…I am fully disappointed that no U.S. Senator from Maryland is on this list. Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen did release a statement yesterday but did not mention the U.S. Coast Guard specifically…on the day that they did not get a pay check. There are somewhere near 1,000 members of the U.S. Coast Guard from here in Maryland. Maryland is the home to the following U.S. Coast Guard assets:
- Contingency Planning and Force Readiness (CPFR)
- Educational Services
- Sector Command Center (SCC)
- Curtis Bay
- STA (Small) Stillpond
- Ocean City
- St. Inigoes
- USCGC CHOCK
There are many organizations stepping in to help out…but these service member are paid so little today…and to have them go without pay will put a big hardship on them and their families.
It is time for everyone in Washington (The President and all members of Congress) to get their act together and remember they are hurting more than helping with this shutdown. This is affecting real people. Get back to work and figure it out.
That is my morning rant.