Rep. Joe Courtney Leads Bipartisan Effort to Ensure Pay for Coast Guard During Government Shutdowns
NORWICH, CT – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) led a bipartisan coalition of 69 Members of Congress in writing to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation urging them to ensure that the servicemembers of the U.S. Coast Guard continue to receive pay during partial government shutdowns. As the two House and Senate Committees prepare to meet to conduct conference negotiations on the Coast Guard Authorization Act (H.R. 3409, S. 2297), Rep. Courtney and the bipartisan coalition urge them to adopt language to the final bill that would ensure that members of the U.S. Coast Guard would continue to receive their pay in the event of an expiration of appropriations at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The U.S. Coast Guard is critical to coastal defense, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and has become increasingly integral to operations around the globe, some in concert with the U.S. Navy. Like other military branches, the U.S. Coast Guard is called to service even during partial government shutdowns. However, because the Coast Guard operates under the DHS rather than the Department of Defense, members of the Coast Guard remain at risk for missing paychecks during partial government shutdowns that affect DHS. In their letter, Rep. Courtney and the bipartisan coalition urge the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the bicameral committees to adopt to the final bill either Section 221 of S. 2297, or the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019 (H.R. 367), a bipartisan bill that Rep. Courtney has co-sponsored.
In their letter, the Members wrote:
“As you complete conference negotiations on the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019, we write to urge you to ensure that the final bill provides for the continued pay of military members of the Coats Guard during government shutdowns.
“Despite the obvious criticality of the work of the Coast Guard, they remain at risk during partial government shutdowns that impact the Department of Homeland Security, as the nation vividly witnessed earlier this year. Section 221 of the Senate-passed bill would prevent a potential repeat of this situation by mandating that in the event of an expiration of appropriations for DHS, members of the Coast Guard would continue receiving their pay on parity with the other branches of our armed services. This provision would ensure retirees and survivors receive the payments they rely on to meet their daily needs as well. With more than 180 cosponsors of H.R. 367, the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019, it is clear that the issue has broad bipartisan support.
“We believe our Coast Guardsmen and women more than deserve the parity this section would provide, and encourage you to retain either the language of section 221 or H.R. 367 in your final conferenced version on behalf of the selfless sacrifice of these individuals and their families.”
The bipartisan coalition’s full letter in support of the Coast Guard is available online.