SenatorWicker / YouTube Wicker Asks Coast Guard Nominee About 1548278555.jpg...
SenatorWicker / YouTube

We’ve now entered day 33 of President Donald Trump’s asinine partial government shutdown, and people are seriously hurting. Furloughed government workers are selling their belongings at pawn shops and on Craigslist, food assistance recipients are worried about how they’ll feed their families come March, and people are panicking about how to pay their rent.

Another group that’s feeling the shutdown’s burn? None other than the United States Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz released a video to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that highlights just how dire the situation is right now for some members of our armed services. Master Chief Petty Officer Jason M. Vanderhaden joins him in the video.

Schultz doesn’t blame anyone by name for the shutdown, nor does he get overtly political. He does explicitly point out that civilian employees are about to miss yet another paycheck this coming Friday. He calls the situation “sobering,” which puts it lightly.

Schultz says: “Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members.”

The Coast Guard is in a unique spot during the shutdown. Most of the U.S. military is part of the Defense Department and has not lost its funding. The Coast Guard, however, falls under the Department of Homeland Security. This is why the Coast Guard is impacted, unlike, for example, the U.S. Army. In spite of going without pay, the Coast Guard continues its usual operations.

Just how many of our service members have been affected so far? A whole lot.

Roughly 42,000 Coast Guard members have already missed one paycheck. About 2,000 civilians and 41,000 active-duty service members are considered essential personnel, so they’re trudging along and working without pay. Another 6,000 civilians are furloughed, meaning both no work and no pay, at this point.

Prior to this Twitter video, Adm. Schultz released a statement about the first missed paycheck, noting, “to the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations.”

And now retired and disabled service members are also stressed about not receiving their usual retirement pay at the end of the month. Randy Beardsworth, who spent 27 years in the Coast Guard, spoke to North Carolina station WECT 6 about the situation, explaining:

“The thing that I find reprehensible is that you have government workers who aren’t getting paid, and you also have retired and disabled veterans that are not getting paid, and are being held hostage. …

“It’s an annoyance for me, but for people who are depending on their retirement, not only will they not get paid, but any allotments that they have set up to go up for life insurance, health insurance, or whatever allotments coming directly out of their pay, will also not get paid either.”

The whole situation just gets more and more shameful.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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