Congressman Lowenthal Votes To Pass Amendment Ensuring Coast Guard Receive Pay During Any Future Govt Shutdown
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today announced that legislation he cosponsored to ensure members of the United States Coast Guard – our nation's fifth military service – receive paychecks, in the event of a federal government shutdown, was approved during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) markup. The original legislation, the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019 (POCGPA), was adopted as an amendment to the larger Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019, and advanced out of committee on a voice vote. The POCGPA was authored Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chair of the T&I Committee.
Earlier this year, more than 41,000 active duty Coast Guard members, 6,200 reservists, and 8,500 civilian personnel were forced to go weeks without receiving a paycheck as a result of the longest-ever Federal government shutdown (35 days). This was the first time in more than 140 years that a member of the Armed Services was not paid during a lapse in government appropriations. According to the Coast Guard, nearly one-third of all active duty Coast Guard members do not have enough money in an emergency savings account to cover one month's worth of expenses.
"For more than a month at the beginning of this year, while large parts of the federal government were shuttered, the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard remained on the job—without pay—carrying out life-saving rescues, intercepting drugs at sea, and doing everything required to keep our coastal communities safe," Congressman Lowenthal said. "It is unacceptable and outrageous that a partisan fight in Washington, D.C. that had nothing to do with the Coast Guard or its mission would keep these brave men and women from being paid. We simply cannot allow this type of hostage-taking to ever happen again. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that our nation properly honors the members of the Coast Guard who prove every day they are up to the challenge of keeping our nation safe and secure."
The POCGPA ensures that if other armed services are paid during any lapse in appropriations that the Coast Guard will also be paid. The legislation also 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