42,000 Coast Guard members miss first paycheck due to government shutdown

The nation's 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck Tuesday, as the only military branch to work without pay during the government shutdown.

Because the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, it is getting no funding during the shutdown. All other parts of the military are under the still-funded Department of Defense.

Coast Guard members, reservists and retirees received checks on Dec. 31 as part of a short-term solution that gave them the remainder of their pay and allowances for December.

But that quick fix did not extend to the Jan. 15 pay period. 

RELATED: Furloughed workers protest amid government shutdown

16 PHOTOS
Furloughed workers protest amid government shutdown
See Gallery
Furloughed workers protest amid government shutdown
Union workers demonstrate in front of the White House against the government shutdown on January 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. - US President Donald Trump headed Thursday to the US-Mexico border to push his demand for a wall, a day after he walked out of negotiations with Democrats in a political crisis paralyzing the government. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Union members and Internal Revenue Service workers rally outside an IRS Service Center to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
IRS worker Christine Helquist joins a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
IRS worker Angela Gran, center, and others participate in a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Cheryl Monroe, right, a Food and Drug Administration employee, and Bertrice Sanders, a Social Security Administration employee, rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Government workers rally against the partial government shutdown at Federal Plaza, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Chicago. The partial government shutdown continues to drag on with hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job or working without pay as the border wall fight persists. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
People gather during a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
People gather during a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Furloughed TSA worker Marae Persson shows participates in a federal workers protest rally at the Federal Building Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Furloughed National Park Service ranger Kathryn Gilson, center, listens as fellow furloughed ranger Sean Ghazala, left, speaks to the media, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, during a press conference and rally at Staten Island's La Colmena Center in New York. Ghazala is based at Manhattan's African Burial Ground, and Gilson works at Gateway National Recreation Area, a national park encompassing wetlands surrounding New York city and parts of New Jersey's coastline. Gilson says she is home "bouncing off the walls" and worrying about paying her bills and student loan. Staten Island is a largely Republican borough of New York city, but Democrat Max Rose recently defeated his Republican opponent in the 2018 congressional elections. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
People rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Union members and other federal employees protest the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Union members protest the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Union members and other federal employees stop in front of the White House in Washington during a rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. . (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A demonstrator holds a 'Stop The Shutdown' sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. The partial government shutdown entered its 20th day today as its impact is more widely felt with about 800,000 federal workers who will miss their paychecks on Friday. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Union workers demonstrate in front of the White House against the government shutdown on January 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. - US President Donald Trump headed Thursday to the US-Mexico border to push his demand for a wall, a day after he walked out of negotiations with Democrats in a political crisis paralyzing the government. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Active-duty Coast Guard members continue to work without pay on essential operations "that provide for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns," such as search-and-rescue, securing the nation's ports and coastlines, other law enforcement duties and environmental response.

A bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress on Jan. 4, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, which would allow members of the Coast Guard, civilian employees, and contractors to be paid throughout the remainder of the shutdown.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement that "hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families are being harmed by the partial government shutdown."

"This situation is especially unfair for those who must work without pay, including members of the Coast Guard who continue to perform critical national security and lifesaving duties without knowing when they will receive their next paycheck," she said.

The Department of Homeland Security is working on another solution, "a narrow legislative fix," to pay active-duty Coast Guard so there is parity between them and other military branches, a Homeland Security official told NBC News Monday night.

In the interim, families of active-duty members as well as of civilian Coast Guard workers who have been furloughed have looked toward other forms of support. The shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history with no end in sight.

The East Bay Coast Guard Spouses Club held a food drive Sunday in Alameda, California, for Coast Guard members, dependents, and civilian workers who have been furloughed. Club member Nicole Lauer told NBC News about 186 families came.

Lauer said the event was uplifting and families were grateful to not have to spend what little money they may have on grocery items.

Donations were made from businesses across Alameda, which has a base and is considered a Coast Guard city. In addition to essentials such as food, baby formula and diapers, items such as laundry detergent and razors were also popular at the drive, as members must maintain regulation standards for their uniforms and appearance, Lauer said.

"We actually have another food bank happening on Wednesday," Lauer told NBC News. "Our mission as a club is that we will do this however long we need to do this, and we've received the support from Alameda that they will have our back as long as we have to."

Emily Garris, the wife of an active-duty member stationed in Alameda, told NBC News she worries about about her own family's financial situation and all the other families in the Coast Guard as well. Her family is fine for the time being, but has been careful about spending since the shutdown began.

"My daughter's 16th birthday is next week and we just had Christmas," Garris told NBC News. "We want to make it special for her, but we also don't want to spend a lot of money either."

Garris said that while many Coast Guard families are feeling discouraged by the ongoing shutdown, the local community's response has in contrast inspired appreciation and gratitude.

"I've had several moms of my kid's friends call and say, 'We're here for you. What can we do, anything that you guys need we'll do it,'" Garris told NBC News. "The Congress can't get their act together. The president can't get their act together, but your community will take care of you."

She never thought the situation would go on for this long, Garris said, but she also feels there's a limit to what people can handle. Some people may eventually begin to wonder if they should try to leave and find new jobs, Garris said.

"It's really up to the leaders, Congress and the president, to really hammer this out and get something done," Garris told NBC News. "I feel like we've done all we can and it's totally in their hands now."

Congress passed a bill Friday to retroactively pay federal workers and Coast Guard members, but it would not go into affect until after the shutdown ends.

Read Full Story
  • DJI26559.54110.000.42%
    NASDAQ7998.061.980.02%
  • NIKKEI 22522200.56110.440.50%
    Hang Seng29963.26-161.42-0.54%
    DAX12222.3969.320.57%
  • USD (PER EUR)1.120.00000.00%
    USD (PER CHF)0.990.00000.00%
    JPY (PER USD)111.910.00000.00%
    GBP (PER USD)1.300.00000.00%