Florida Keys

The Coast Guard won’t be getting paid during the shutdown. But it will remain on patrol

An HH-60 JAYHAWK helicopter sits on a runway at Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. Aircraft like it will continue to fly during the partial government shutdown, but its crew will not be paid.
An HH-60 JAYHAWK helicopter sits on a runway at Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. Aircraft like it will continue to fly during the partial government shutdown, but its crew will not be paid. U.S. COAST GUARD

South Florida and the Florida Keys is one of the busiest theaters of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard.

But, while members continue to perform search and rescue operations and patrol for drug and human smugglers, they will do so without pay indefinitely, according to a letter released Thursday.

Rear Admiral Matthew W. Sibley, acting assistant commandant for the Coast Guard’s human resources department, stated in an open letter to the roughly 42,000 service men and women in the agency that until Congress passes an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution temporarily funding the federal government, they will work and not be paid.

“On Dec. 22, 2018, the United States Coast Guard partially shut down due to a lapse in appropriations. While all Coast Guard members continue to report for duty in service of our country during this partial shutdown, they do so without pay until an appropriation is passed by Congress,” Sibley wrote.

According to a fact sheet sent to Coast Guard members Thursday, they will not receive their salary going back to the Dec. 15 through Dec. 21 pay period.

All other military branches fall under the Department of Defense and their members will continue to be paid as Congress and President Donald Trump argue over his proposed wall along the Mexican border. But the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, whose funding, along with several other cabinet-level agencies, expired right before Christmas.

“The Coast Guard will return to pay status as soon as possible,” Sibley wrote. “In the interim, they will continue to execute their duties and ensure our homeland remains secure.”

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.


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