Coast Guard During Govt Shutdown Working Without Pay – Trump Intervenes
Coast Guard members were set to work without pay as the shutdown continues…but Trump intervened and pushed to find a way to get them a paycheck on December 31. The solution is only for December 31, and does not include January. But it’s a start.
The Washington Examiner reported that the President was concerned about the Coast Guard and even furloughed Federal workers who worked a partial month prior to the shutdown. So they were pressed hard to find a solution. The rest of the military falls under Congressional appropriations that were already made.
Officials said that Trump was keen to find a “way we can fix this” as news media stories about the Coast Guardsmen’s plight started to pile up.
At his urging, the Office of Management and Budget, DHS and the Coast Guard determined that the rules governing pay to Coast Guard forces requires it be made through the end of the year. To make it, the lawyers said that unused funding could be tapped for pay. The service had a bit more than the needed $75 million left over from its past continuing resolution appropriation, enough to make this month’s last payroll check.
“The president is trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible for workers, and this case proved it,” said an official.
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) December 28, 2018
It’s only one check, and doesn’t guarantee others for January but that it’s being done for them is a kind of miracle. The Coast Guard also sent letters to the creditors for their members, explaining the situation and asking them to have patience.
This is information from the Coast Guard official workforce blog:
Will Coast Guard members get paid on Dec. 31? Yes, the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018. This one-time action applies to military members that served on active duty in the month of December and those reserve military members that drilled prior to the lapse in appropriation.
If you were an active duty military member in December, then you will receive your monthly paycheck on Dec. 31, 2018. That paycheck will include all of the normal pay and allowance benefits (e.g. basic pay, BAH, BAS, etc.).
If you were a reservist that served on active duty during the month of December, you will also receive your monthly paycheck on Dec. 31, 2018 and it will include all of your normal pay and allowance entitlements.
Finally, if you were a reservist that conducted reserve training prior to Dec. 21, 2018, then you will receive the appropriate pay and allowance entitlements on Dec. 31, 2018.
Will I get paid on Jan. 15? This approval only covers the Dec. 31, 2018 paycheck. It does not guarantee a paycheck on Jan. 15, 2019. Meeting active duty and reserve military payroll for January 2019 will require a fiscal year 2019 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure.
Why the change from earlier guidance that indicated the Coast Guard military members would not be paid on Dec. 31? Generally, the Coast Guard lacks the authority to pay its members during a lapse in appropriations. The circumstances of this lapse are unique because of the timeline of the lapse in relation to the military pay process. Ultimately, extensive research and legal analysis between the Coast Guard, DHS, and OMB determined the Coast Guard has the authority to execute the remainder of pay and allowances for December.
Will retirees get paid? Retirees will get paid Dec. 31. However if this lapse in appropriations continues into February, they may not get paid their future installments. VA payments should not be affected by this lapse in appropriations.
Featured photo: Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Munro refuel a helicopter on the flight deck on Nov. 30. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West/Coast Guard)