WASHINGTON (NBC/AP) — The Coast Guard is the only branch of the U.S. military whose members will go without pay during the government shutdown unless Congress and President Donald Trump can find a resolution by Friday, NBC News reported.
Approximately 42,000 active-duty military members of the Coast Guard remain on duty during the partial government shutdown that began Saturday, but they will work without pay until further notice, according to a statement from a Coast Guard spokeswoman.
“Unless legislation is passed by Friday, Dec. 28, our military workforce will not receive our regularly scheduled pay check for 31 Dec.,” Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday.
The Associated Press reports an additional 6,000 Coast Guard employees have been furloughed.
According to the sector Hampton Roads website, about 480 active duty and civilian members could be affected.
The Coast Guard is the only part of the military under the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense which continues to be funded during the shutdown.
“Guardsmen come in because they want to do this job. They are however held to the uniform code of military justice,” explained Amanda Faulkner, the Coast Guard Mid- Atlantic Region Public Affairs Officer. “So, it would be an unauthorized absence if they didn’t show up.”
During the shutdown, some of their daily duties will change. Faulkner says Port patrols and security will be the primary focus.
“We’re in a response mood. Normally we’re out preventing things from happening. Some of that is reduced. We’ll still be there if you’re in distress but we might not go check your life jackets,” said Faulkner.
Coast guardsmen are advised to plan for emergencies like this, but if members need help making ends meet, help is available through the Coast Guard mutual assistance.
“Our units prepare members to do financial planning and make sure they are ready when something happens,” said Faulkner. “There is always mutual assistance if members need help. There is a relief society that can help members.”
The shutdown started Saturday, December 22, when funding lapsed nine Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies. President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats are in a standoff over border wall money that threatens to carry the shutdown over into the New Year.
In a post on its “All Hands” blog last week, the Coast Guard said salaries earned during and after the lapse will be paid “once an appropriation or a continuing resolution is passed.”