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Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Coast Guard and the Shutdown

Our textbook discusses the Coast Guard.  which has moved over the years from Treasury (where it started in 1790 under Alexander Hamilton) to Transportation to DHS (with stops at the old War Department in between):

Patricia Kime at
The Coast Guard's 41,000 active-duty members will not be paid on their next payday, scheduled for Jan. 15, due to lack of appropriations in the ongoing government shutdown, the service's vice commandant said Thursday.
Active-duty Coast Guardsmen received a paycheck Dec. 28 as the result of a workaround by the Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard, and Office of Management and Budget, which ruled that the service had the authority to issue all pay and allowances for December.
But in an all-hands message dated Jan. 10, Adm. Charles Ray said no reprieve will occur Jan. 15: The service is unable to cover its payroll.
Dan Lamothe at WP:
Employees of the U.S. Coast Guard who are facing a long U.S. government shutdown just received a suggestion: To get by without pay, consider holding a garage sale, babysitting, dog-walking or serving as a “mystery shopper.”
The suggestions were part of a five-page tip sheet published by the Coast Guard Support Program, an employee-assistance arm of the service often known as CG SUPRT. It is designated to offer Coast Guard members help with mental-health issues or other concerns about their lives, including financial wellness.
“Bankruptcy is a last option,” the document said.

The Coast Guard receives funding from the Department of Homeland Security and is subjected to the shuttering of parts of the government along with DHS’s other agencies. That stands in contrast to other military services, which are part of the Defense Department and have funding.
The tip sheet, titled “Managing your finances during a furlough,” applies to the Coast Guard’s 8,500-person civilian workforce. About 6,400 of them are on indefinite furlough, while 2,100 are working without pay after being identified as essential workers, said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a service spokesman. They were last paid for the two-week period ended Dec. 22.
The Coast Guard removed the tip sheet from the support program’s website late Wednesday morning after The Washington Post inquired about it.
Coast Guard civilian employee Geoff Anderson writes at The Times of San Diego:
Politicians do not value the Coast Guard as much as the other military services. They are funded while the Coast Guard is not. The Department of Homeland Security lumps the Coast Guard in with 13 other “operational and support components,” when in fact it is nothing like them. It is military, it is global, and no other DHS organization can approach the scope and reach of its mission.
Arguments about whether DHS should be the parent agency for Coast Guard aside, politicians and the general public mistakenly equate “military” with “Department of Defense,” to the detriment of the Coast Guard. One can imagine the public outrage if other military branches were required to work without pay for this long.
In summary, most of the general public and politicians in Washington don’t understand the Coast Guard and take it for granted. That statement probably also applies to every federal worker affected by this shutdown, regardless of organization.