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44,000 Coast Guard employees temporarily working without paychecks during gov’t shutdown

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak in Hawaii. (Eric D. Woodall/U.S. Coast Guard)
December 27, 2018

At least 44,000 members of the Coast Guard are working without receiving a paycheck while a quarter of the government remains shut down, and they aren’t sure when they’ll get paid.

The Coast Guard is the only military branch under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security – which remains unfunded by the shutdown – instead of the Department of Defense, according to an NBC News report on Wednesday.

Of 50,861 Coast Guard employees, 44,298 were still operating during the shutdown, according to a DHS document. Thousands more employees have been hit with unpaid furlough days.

“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 told NBC News.

Some of the Coast Guard’s unpaid work includes a search and rescue effort for a crew member of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship who fell overboard on Dec. 25 approximately 270 miles from the Puerto Rican coast, according to Fox News.

The Coast Guard deployed an HC-130 Hercules from a unit based in Clearwater, Florida, to assist in the search.

The Department of Homeland Security, along with the departments of Interior and Agriculture, and others are among those left unfunded by Congress, and they remain shut down until a bill is approved.

At least 420,000 federal employees are estimated to be working without pay, with another 380,000 furloughed without pay, the Huffington Post reported.

Among the employees retained for unpaid work during the shutdown include:

  • 54,935 employees with Customs and Border Protection
  • 16,254 employees with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • 55,182 employees with Transportation Security Administration
  • 5,978 employees with the U.S. Secret Service
  • 15,208 employees with Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • 17,674 employees with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Unpaid employees are looking into loans to help them cover their monthly expenses in the absence of a paycheck.

President Donald Trump refused to sign an appropriations bill if it did not include $5 billion for the construction of a wall on the southern U.S. border.

The House of Representatives approved a $5.7 billion allocation for Trump’s border wall, but the Senate refused to approve such a number before Congress adjourned on Dec. 21.

Trump predicted that the shutdown could be extensive.

He said in a tweet this month, “The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”

Federal employees who continue to work through a shutdown typically receive back pay once a funding bill is passed.

That could be delayed at least another week, however, until the next Congressional session begins on Jan. 3.