Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Coast Guard Is About To Go Without Pay Because Of The Government Shutdown
A surprise maneuver at the end of December ensured Coast Guardsmen got their final paychecks of 2018, despite the government shutdown that began on December 22.
But the shutdown has dragged on, and the income for some 50,000 personnel, including 42,000 deemed essential personnel and required to work during the shutdown, remains in doubt as the first payday of 2019 approaches.
Salaries for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are covered by the Defense Department, which got its full funding the for the fiscal year in the fall. But while the Coast Guard is a military branch, it is part of the Department of Homeland Security, funding for which had not been approved by the time the shutdown began.
Coast Guard operations have continued, however.
On December 23, Coast Guard crews on training exercises in Hawaii were diverted twice, first to medevac a snorkeler who was having a medical emergency and then to rescue passengers from a capsized vessel. This month, Coast Guard crews in the Pacific have been involved in searches for crew members from two different vessels.
Officials said on December 28 that the Homeland Security Department had found a way to supply about $75 million needed to cover pay for the December 31 pay period, but they said they would be unable to repeat it for the January 15 payday.
There is some money within the Homeland Security Department that has moved around to keep things going, but some activities, like issuing licenses, has been curtailed. Funding for other services, like child-care subsidies, is also running out, further complicating life for service members and their families.
During the first week of January, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act was introduced to the Senate by Republican Sen. John Thune, cosponsored by Republican Sens. Roger Wicker, Susan Collins, Cindy Hyde Smith, and Democratic Sens. Marla Cantwell, Richard Blumenthal, Doug Jones, and Brian Schatz.
The bill would pay active, retired, and civilian Coast Guard personnel despite the shutdown. It would also fund benefits for retired members, death gratuities, and other payouts.
Thune's measure was first introduced in 2015 but died after being referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. After a grassroots effort generated 141,015 letters to congressmembers asking for its reintroduced, the bill was resubmitted on January 3, the first day of the 116th Congress.
"All we know so far, is that if this isn't resolved by the 10th they will not get paid on the 15th," Coast Guard spouse Stephanie Lisle told ConnectingVets.com. "Hopefully the bill gets passed."
The bill garnered support from more than a dozen veterans groups, but it would also have to pass the House of Representatives, which is now controlled by Democrats, and be signed by President Donald Trump.
Last week, Trump said he was prepared to keep the government shut down for "months or even years" after he and Democratic leaders again failed to resolve his demand for billions in funding for a border wall.
"We won't be opening until it's solved," Trump said on January 4. "I don't call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and the safety of our country."
Read more from Business Insider:
- The Coast Guard turned down a request for an Arctic exercise out of concern the U.S.'s only heavy icebreaker would break down and Russia would have to rescue it
- Coast Guard crews are capturing record amounts of cocaine — here's how they chase down high-seas smugglers
- The Coast Guard is catching record amounts of cocaine, and activity is growing around a smuggling hotspot
- Billions of dollars of cocaine are smuggled into the US by sea every year, and the Coast Guard says it can only stop one-quarter of it
- The Coast Guard is catching more drug-running subs, but most 'very stealthy' narco subs are probably going undetected
A 1,900-year-old scrap of papyrus proves that while warfare may change, the bureaucratic bullshit that comes with military life does not.
If you run across Army veteran Del Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, over the next couple of weeks, offer to buy him a beer.
No, seriously — it's all he's can have until mid-April.
WASHINGTON/CARACAS (Reuters) - The United States on Monday accused Russia of "reckless escalation" of the situation in Venezuela by deploying military planes and personnel to the crisis-stricken South American nation that Washington has hit with crippling sanctions.
Victory over ISIS has come at a tremendous cost for America's Kurdish and Arab allies in Syria.
More than 11,000 Syrian Democratic Forces fighters were killed and 21,000 others wounded fighting ISIS, the group announced on Saturday following the group's formal liberation of ISIS' last enclave in Syria.
A 69-year-old policy keeps troops from suing the US for medical malpractice. It's closer to being overturned than ever before
In March 2014, at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington, Navy Lt. Rebekah "Moani" Daniel was admitted to have her first child. A labor and delivery nurse who worked at the facility, she was surrounded by friends and co-workers when daughter Victoria entered the world.
But four hours later, the 33-year-old was dead, having lost more than a third of her body's volume of blood to post-partum hemorrhaging. Her husband's attorney argues that the doctors failed to deploy treatments in time to halt the bleeding, leading to her death.
Her baby, now 5, never felt her mom's embrace.
This Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a petition from Moani Daniel's husband, Walter Daniel, in his case against the Navy hospital where his wife died. Like every other service member, Daniel was required to get medical care from the U.S. military, but her family is prohibited from suing for medical malpractice, barred by a 69-year-old legal ruling known as Feres that precludes troops from suing the federal government for injuries deemed incidental to military service.
"Suppose you had two sisters. One was on active duty and the other was a military dependent. Both of them give birth in adjoining rooms at the same military hospital [by the same doctor]. Both are victims of malpractice. One can sue and the other one can't. How can that make sense?" asked attorney Eugene Fidell, a former Coast Guard judge advocate general and military law expert who lectures at Yale Law School.