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U.S. Coast Guard escalates calls for an end to shutdown as service members struggle without pay

The U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of the armed forces currently working without pay because it’s funded through the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense.

It’s an unprecedented development and a slap in the face to hard-working service members who sacrifice so much for our country’s safety and security.

The Washington Times reports:

“Four retired Coast Guard master chief petty officers wrote a blistering op-ed over the weekend on the defense news site Military.com, saying the government breakdown left some 56,000 active-duty, reserve and civilian members of the service financially at sea. ‘They don’t deserve to have their pay held hostage by their own government leadership, who are refusing to sit down at the table and work out a deal that will get the government reopened and its people paid,’ the four men wrote.”

Meanwhile, a U.S. Coast Guard ship, the Cutter Bertholf, has just departed for a multi-month deployment as Coast Guard personnel leave their families at home facing extremely challenging circumstances and no paycheck.

Coast Guard Vice. Adm. Linda Fagan said:

“I know it is hard for these crews to be leaving behind their dependents and spouses. It’s a thousand times more so when everyone is wondering when their next paycheck will be, and how they can support the family that they are leaving behind.”

Many Coast Guard families are scraping by with food pantries and community assistance, an embarrassment to our nation.

As Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, said:

“Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members”

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