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DeFazio bill to save Coast Guard from shutdown

January 11, 2019


US Congressman, Oregon, Peter DeFazio

Shutdown impacts over 41,000 active duty Coast Guard members performing missions and protecting the coastal borders

Oregon lawmakers applauded legislation introduced by Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that would provide funding for the Coast Guard and ensure that active duty and reserve members of the Coast Guard are paid during the government shutdown. Members of the Coast Guard are the only members of the United States military not being paid for their critical and continuing operations.

The shutdown impacts over 41,000 active duty Coast Guard members, 6,200 reservists, and 8,500 civilian personnel. According to the Coast Guard, an estimated 31% of active duty Coast Guard members do not have enough money in an emergency savings fund to cover one month’s worth of expenses.

“President Trump and his Mar-a-Lago cronies may not have trouble ‘adjusting’ if they miss a paycheck, but for thousands of Oregon families, a paycheck means a mortgage payment, childcare, or a medical bill,” said Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “More than 1,200 Active Duty Coast Guard personnel and reservists stationed in Oregon are currently working without pay or furloughed while President Trumps holds their wages hostage. While the President obsesses over a wall that experts agree will not make our nation safer, he is ignoring the men and women who protect our coastlines every day. The Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act will provide financial stability to these men and women by ensuring they get paid despite the government shutdown.”

“Many of our public servants are stretched thin this month due to the government shutdown,” said Congressman Schrader (OR-05). “That includes our Coast Guard, who are missing paychecks because of the failures of the Federal Government, but are still expected to perform their necessary duties. Oregon is mourning the loss of three fishermen this week from a capsized fishing boat that our Coast Guard valiantly risked life and limb to save. We are asking them to do their job serving and protecting our communities, which sometimes means life or death situations, without pay. Meanwhile Congress can’t do its number one job. What kind of message is that? Those keeping us safe, especially, don’t deserve to suffer because of our failures. Congress must step it up and fully fund the government.”

“It is unacceptable that the government shutdown has affected the men and women of the US Coast Guard, who provide critical protections for our coastal and riverfront communities in many ways,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01). “About 500 Coast Guard members are stationed in Astoria; they deserve to be paid on time. This shutdown is creating unnecessary hardship for the families of those who put their lives on the line to keep our country and communities safe. Passing the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act would provide relief for these service members and allow them to stay focused on their mission.”

The Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act, which mirrors a Senate companion bill, provides funding during any period during which interim or full-year appropriations for the Coast Guard are not in effect. The Pay Our Coast Guard Act provides for:

– Pay and allowances for active duty and reserve members of the Coast Guard;
– Pay and allowances for civilian employees of the Coast Guard;
– Pay and allowances for contractors of the Coast Guard;
– Payment of death gratuities with respect to members of the Coast Guard;
– Payment or reimbursement of authorized funeral travel and travel related to the dignified transfer of remains and unit memorial services with respect to members of the Coast Guard;
– Temporary continuation of a basic housing allowance for dependents of members of the Coast Guard dying while on active duty; and
– Coast Guard retired pay and benefits.

  
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