SPOKANE, Wash. — Active duty and retired members of the U.S. Coast Guard will not be receiving their pay due to the partial federal government shutdown.
According to Military.com, 50,000 people who receive retirement benefits will miss their first check on Feb. 1 if a budget agreement is not reached.
Members of the Army and the Marine Corps are still getting paid because they are a part of the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and has not been funded for 2019.
Mike Wade of Davenport, Washington served 22 years in the Coast Guard and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.
Wade says he depends on his pension check to pay his bills. Luckily, he has some money put away to help him during this time but knows other retirees who aren't so lucky.
"I don't know a lot of creditors that will say, 'Gee, I'm sorry about that but you owe us for your mortgage, your car,'" Wade said.
Wade said he has started calling local politicians about his frustrations. He doesn't think it's right that politicians continue to get paid while some of their constituents suffer.
"Politicians we elected to represent us are sitting back in Washington D.C. arguing like 5 year olds about tinker toys," Wade said.
Wade received a letter from the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources of the U.S. Coast Guard William Kelly explaining why he would not be getting paid.
“Because Coast Guard Retirees will not receive pay during the lapse in appropriations, our members may have difficulty in timely meeting their financial obligations. This lapse in appropriations is beyond the members’ control and is expected to be a temporary situation. We appreciate your organization’s understanding and flexibility in working with these women and men who have so honorably served our Nation, especially if they should request forbearance on their obligations until this situation is resolved,” Kelly wrote in the letter.
Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz sent out a letter as well saying the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance has received a $15 million donation from USAA to support those in need within the Coast Guard. Schultz said the American Red Cross will assist in the distribution of the funds.
About 42,000 Coast Guard members are working without pay and an additional 10,000 civilian workers have been furloughed.
In a Facebook post Sunday, Schultz tried to reassure families who might be struggling.
"While our Coast Guard workforce is deployed, there are loved ones at home reviewing family finances, researching how to get support, and weighing childcare options — they are holding down the fort," he wrote. "Please know that we are doing everything we can to support and advocate for you while your loved one stands the watch. You have not, and will not, be forgotten."
The government shutdown is headed into its fourth week. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to pay Coast Guard members during the shutdown but have not been passed.
For more information on the lapse in funding for the Coast Guard, click here.