CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An act has been introduced by South Dakota Senator John Thune and co-sponsored by seven other senators which would pay active, civilian, and retired Coast Guard members despite the government shutdown.
The “Pay Our Coast Guard” Act would pay Coast Guard personnel immediately when paychecks are due and would be ongoing in case of future shutdowns.
Around 42,000 coast guard members who are deemed essential employees are still having to work as the government goes into its 19th day of the shutdown.
The Coast Guard is the only military branch to work without pay because its funding is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The department was able to find the funding to cover the members ‘paychecks for the Dec. 31 pay period, but their next paycheck isn’t guaranteed for the Jan. 15 pay day.
Now, Coast Guard families across the Lowcountry and beyond are trying to rally support for the bill.
It has earned support from more than a dozen veteran groups, but still has to pass through Congress. While the members’ salaries are at the mercy of political disputes, families are doing what they can to save money.
Jennifer Mullen is married to a chief petty officer in the Coast Guard and has two kids to take care of.
She said while her situation isn’t as dire as others, her family is still feeling the impacts.
“From a family perspective, we’re working on hunkering down and doing the bare minimum,” Mullen said. “So we’re paying our bills. We’re staying in, we’re eating in, no eating out and no extracurriculars. “
Mullen and other Coast Guard spouses have been trying to communicate with senators to ask for their support with the act and she hopes to get the word out of how they’re still being impacted by all of this.