Approximately 42,000 active-duty military members of the Coast Guard remain on duty during the partial government shutdown that began Saturday morning, but they will continue 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 paycheck for 31 Dec.,” Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said in a statement.
Coast Guard members who are living paycheck to paycheck may have to take out loans if the government shutdown drags on.
The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military whose members will go without pay during the government shutdown because their branch falls under The Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense which continues to be funded during the shutdown.
Another 6,000 Coast Guard civilian employees are being furloughed, according to DHS guidance. That means they will go without pay until further notice.
Government employees have received back pay at the end of past shutdowns.
Emily Garris, 42, the wife of a Coast Guard member stationed in California and mother of two, told NBC News the current shutdown has left many families feeling “cast aside.”
In previous government shutdowns, Garris said her husband was paid as a result of emergency funding passed by Congress.
This is the first time in her husband’s 25 years of service he has come so close to not receiving a paycheck, she said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“People who serve in the Coast Guard don’t do it for the riches. They do it because they love our country; they want to serve the country they love,” Garris said. “And for us to just be cast aside, this is hurtful. We put so much on the line every day.”
Garris said her family will be fine for now, but added that she knows many families were depending on getting their regular paychecks after the holidays and are now feeling financially stressed.
My husband is active duty Coast Guard. Everyone thinks the military is getting paid during the shutdown, but the Coast Guard is facing no pay on the 1st due to being DHS and not DoD. We live in NYC, pay over $2K/month in rent, have a toddler and one on the way.#ShutdownStories
— Katy⚓ (@katyjb88) December 24, 2018
“My husband is active duty Coast Guard. Everyone thinks the military is getting paid during the shutdown, but the Coast Guard is facing no pay on the 1st due to being DHS and not DoD,” one person wrote on Twitter on Christmas Eve in a post that was retweeted more than 11,000 times.
“We live in NYC, pay over $2K/month in rent, have a toddler and one on the way,” wrote the user.
Coast Guard forces are continuing to provide 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, according to Conroy.
But, she said the Coast Guard “stops or curtails mission activities that do not fall into those categories,” including training and maintenance activities to its fleets.
With the government shutdown, “they will likely not have the full support that they need in order to maintain mission readiness,” Conroy said.