Political News

Coast Guard service members miss first paycheck due to government shutdown

Posted January 16, 2019 9:41 a.m. EST

— Thousands of active duty US Coast Guard service members did not receive their paycheck Tuesday -- the first time in history that US Armed Forces service members were not paid during a lapse in government funding, according to the branch's top official.

"Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled paycheck," Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz wrote in a statement issued Tuesday. "To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation's history that servicemembers in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in appropriations."

Schultz added, "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."

He insisted that senior leadership, including Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, "remains fully engaged and will maintain a steady flow of communications to keep you updated on developments."

"It is also not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck — we are confronting this challenge together," Schultz wrote.

Active-duty members of the Coast Guard, which is the only military branch under the Department of Homeland Security, received their most recent paycheck on December 31, after an announcement that it "identified a way to pay our military workforce."

Nielsen wrote on Twitter Tuesday that she is working with the White House and Congress to pass legislation to fund the Coast Guard.

Schultz also announced that the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) received a $15 million donation from USAA. With the help of the American Red Cross, the CGMA will begin distributing interest-free loans to service members Wednesday, according to an announcement from USAA.

Nineteen days into the partial government shutdown, the Coast Guard posted a tip sheet suggesting that furloughed employees supplement their income by having garage sales, baby-sitting and becoming a "mystery shopper," The Washington Post reported. After The Post asked about the tip sheet, the Coast Guard took down the document that same day.

"The information in this document does not reflect the Coast Guard's current efforts to support its workforce during the lapse," Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride told CNN in a statement. "As such, it has been removed from the CG Support website."

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill Wednesday that would guarantee back pay for furloughed workers.