Coast Guard did not get paid on 15th.
CG Commandant says it is first time in history a military service missed a paycheck due to shutdown
Sullivan says there’s much bi-partisan support for “Pay Our Coast Guard Act”
Sullivan says president supports Coast Guard being paid
While many federal workers are on furlough or are on the job without pay because of the partial federal shutdown, the U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that is working without pay.
Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan hopes to fix that discrepancy. He has joined with a bi-partisan group of senators who have introduced a bill which would ensure that the Coast Guard active duty and retirees would be paid through the shutdown.
Sullivan spoke to his colleagues on the Senate floor Tuesday night, payday for the Coast Guard–the payday that didn’t happen. He read from a letter by the Coast Guard commandant.
“From the Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Carl Shultz, to the men and women of the Coast Guard. It starts with this paragraph. 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 is 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.”
Sullivan pointed out that the other branches of the military are getting paid.
“As you know, the partial government shutdown is negatively impacting Federal workers, but none–none–more so than the brave men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard. As I mentioned, they are currently the only members of the U.S. military who are not getting paid during this partial government shutdown.
The Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines are all out there risking their lives for our Nation. We greatly appreciate that. And guess what. They are getting paid to do it, as they should be, but the Coast Guard members are also out there risking their lives, especially in my State, the great State of Alaska.
They are out on the Bering Seas, some of the roughest and most dangerous oceans in the world, keeping our fishermen safe and doing rescues. They are deployed overseas. They are deployed in the Middle East. They have been in Florida and Texas helping with natural disasters, hurricanes–all heroic service.”
Sullivan explained the pay inequity has to do with the Coast Guard not being a part of the Department of Defense–it falls under Homeland Security.
He said he and a bipartisan group of senators have a plan to fix the inequity and to get the Coast Guard paid during the shutdown.
Nobody thinks this is a good idea. Nobody thinks this is a good idea. So last week, a number of us in this body, Democrats and Republicans, put forward a bill that simply says we should pay the men and women of the Coast Guard, even if we are in a partial government shutdown, just like paying the men and women of the other branches of the military. They are risking their lives daily. They can’t just quit their job. By the way, if they want to just go quit, they are going to be court-martialed. That is different than other Federal service. So that is what we said we were going to do. “
Sullivan added that the measure has broad support. Even from the President.
When the President came to the Senate last week, I had the opportunity to raise this issue with the President and his team and highlighted the fact that this is very different, and we need to work together. We have a bill. If we get the President’s support and signature on it, that would be a good way to move it forward, and I have been in communication with his administration ever since the lunch–working with us.
I am hopeful we are on the verge of a breakthrough because the White House has said the President recognizes this is a rather unique situation–very unique–so he has now said he is going to support this bill. We have Democrats, Republicans, the White House, and the President of the United States all saying, all right, we are not there yet, but this is a good start, and this is an important issue.”
Despite the broad support, the passage of the Coast Guard bill could face a long journey on its way to approval—if that comes at all.
Sullivan finished his floor speech saying that he hoped the measure to pay the Coast Guard could be approved in the next few days.