Coast Guard another victim of government shutdown


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Hannah Woosley

NBC News reported on Jan. 15 that 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck that day, resulting in hard, dedicated and, at times, life-threatening work going unpaid.

Our Congress and president should be ashamed of themselves.

Some of the people we’ve elected are so unable to sit down respectfully for more than a few minutes to open a conversation of compromise to ensure federal workers are paid again. But now, it’s affecting even more people than those federal workers we’ve heard about every day; it’s affecting the very people who sacrifice their lives for ours.

Active-duty Coast Guard members jobs include maritime safety, which is Search and Rescue, maritime security, like preventing intentional damages of sabotage, terrorism and more and maritime stewardship, which includes protecting our waters from hazardous materials and examination of foreign vessels.

Jan. 15 was the Coast Guard’s first missed paycheck. They went unpaid until the shutdown ended, temporarily, on Jan. 25, where they should be paid soon, but this is still just a temporary fix.

All of this crucial work is unpaid because the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, so all of its employees are working unpaid during the government shutdown.

A bill signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 16 agreed to retroactively pay Coast Guard members, but not until the shutdown is over.

Essentially, our Congress and our president asked our Coast Guard to operate without pay, to continue to do a job that is crucial to our national security as a country without any money – something so disrespectful it should’ve immediately urged conversations to find solutions to end the shutdown, not to only pass a bill taunting our service members that they’ll get their pay later, after the shutdown is over.

USAA Bank stepped up in a way our government isn’t; they donated $15 million to help aid Coast Guard members and their families. And that will help, yes, but it won’t last forever – especially with no permanent end to the shutdown in sight.

While no one should ever work without pay, it’s deeply saddening that a branch of our military, those who took an oath to protect our country we so cherish, are given this treatment. They deserve better, and our Congress and our president owe them that.