For the first time in history the 42,000 active-duty men and women of the Coast Guard worked without pay due to a lapse in appropriations during the longest partial shutdown in United States history earlier this year. As the Department of Homeland Security was reduced to essential personnel, Coasties relied on the charity of their neighbors and communities to help fill the gap as they wondered when their next paycheck would come. The Navy League, and many American citizens were outraged that we would place that stress on members of our Armed Forces.
In January Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) introduced the bi-partisan, bi-cameral bill called the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act that put the Coast Guard on parity with the rest of the armed forces during a shutdown: If the Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Army would be paid, so should Coasties. The language from this bill was then included in the Coast Guard policy legislation working its way through the House and Senate.
While the two-year Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019 passed the full House and the Senate Commerce Committee in late July, it was removed from the final House bill. This authorization would have ensured active-duty service members are paid during a government shutdown.
The Navy League is advocating for the final Coast Guard Authorization bill that passes congress include language to provide for Coast Guard pay parity. We continue to ask Navy League members, and Members of the House and Senate to support this principle regardless of the vehicle or method for doing so.
Why you should take action
No man or woman who volunteers to serve our country protecting its waters, and the citizens who live along them, should ever be forced to work without pay.
- House Overwhelmingly Approves Bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019
- Commandant Karl Schulz shares video criticizing "unacceptable" shutdown.
- Former Commandant Thad Allen describes harm to Coast Guard families.