Coast Guard sees old woe of few funds extrapolated by government shutdown

Coast Guard sees old woe of few funds extrapolated by government shutdown

U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Bahrain Naval Force ships navigate the Arabian Gulf in formation behind the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur during exercise Neon Union 19 in early January (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Nicholas Zehrung)

WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard continues to sail despite falling under part of the government that officially has no money.

It is the latest financial conundrum for the Coast Guard, which has seen its budget requests for critical needs like icebreakers fall victim to budget maneuverings.

The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which means its funding is part of that larger organization. Unlike the Defense Department, DHS did not get funding prior to the current government shutdown.

Only in wartime does the Coast Guard become part of the Pentagon’s jurisdiction.

The 41,000 strong Coast Guard force is scheduled to be paid on January 15, which now seems unlikely.

Uniformed personnel did receive pay on December 28 after the Office of Management and Budget ruled the Coast Guard had the authority to issue all pay and allowances for December. However, the Coast Guard’s 8,500 civilian employees were not, with their last paycheck on December 22.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard Support Program has removed suggestions from its website guided furloughed employees to find income via garage sales, babysitting, dog-walking, being a mystery shopper or tutoring children. The suggestions were first reported by the Washington Post.

The Coast Guard’s Mutual Assistance Board has approved an increase in interest-free loans for some ranks, according to the Military Times. Member of the House and Senate have also prepared legislation to approve pay for the Coast Guard.

The budget deadlock has also snared funding for the Coast Guard’s long-sought request for new polar icebreakers. There is a $750-million icebreaker request to get the shipbuilding program rebooted in 2019 in the DHS budget that remains unapproved.

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