Hundreds of thousands of government workers are finishing the year and likely starting the next without pay because of the government shutdown.
Up until Friday evening, that included the U.S. Coast Guard. But the Department of Homeland security announced that it has worked out a way to pay the military workforce for work done in December. Future paychecks are still uncertain until the shutdown is resolved.
“Certainly, there is some apprehension just because we have some financial obligations,” said Petty Officer Second Class Erik Malone at the Coast Guard station in Morro Bay. “We all have to live on the economy. We have to pay rent.”
The Coast Guard works around the clock. There is always someone on duty 24/7, whether they receive a paycheck or not.
“We have a couple of people who just reported, just out of boot camp where they only have one or two paychecks under their belt and so it’s definitely not the best of times,” Malone said.
The organization does offer resources to members if funds dip too low.
“There’s always mutual assistance so if members need help, there is a relief society that can help members,” said Amanda Faulkner, Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic region.
Pay or no pay, Coast Guard members say they are always ready for a rescue.
“Even if we’re not getting paid at the moment or getting a paycheck on the first, if we get a call, I am certainly excited to get on the boat and help somebody,” Malone said.
Friday, Dec. 28 marks the seventh day of the partial government shutdown and with many lawmakers out of town, an end to it all might not come until 2019.
Rep. Salud Carbajal (24th District) says the shutdown is shameful.
“This has created a lot of hardship for a lot of families who depend on various services, a lot of workers of families who are now struggling financially,” he said.
Congress is scheduled to meet in session on January 3.