May 21, 2019
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Coast Guard will get paid for pre-shutdown work, Collins says

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
A U.S. Coast Guard sign at the agency's Jonesport station.

Active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Maine will get a paycheck next week despite announcements to the contrary, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a Friday night tweet.

Maine’s senior senator said that “a payroll system issue” has been fixed. It would have prevented 42,000 Coast Guard members nationwide from being paid for pre-shutdown work until the government shutdown ends. The shutdown began seven days ago.

Collins said that “White House staff” called her to say that the issue had been resolved after she called there on Friday to see if the problem could be fixed.

“Good news for the Coast Guard! White House staff called to tell me CG members will receive their paychecks as did other federal employees. I continue to work to end the shutdown, but this will provide immediate relief to CG members & their families,” Collins said on Twitter.

A Coast Guard spokesman announced the payment problem on Friday.

[Maine Coast Guard members must work without pay during shutdown]

Collins had said that most federal employees were due to get their scheduled paychecks on Thursday, “but that is not the case for 42,000 Coast Guard members, who will not be paid for pre-shutdown work because they are under a different pay system.”

“This is not fair,” she added.

The Coast Guard has facilities in South Portland, Boothbay, Rockland, Belfast, Southwest Harbor, Jonesport and Eastport. According to the media platform Governing, as of 2017, there were 572 active-duty Coast Guard members in the state.

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Since the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, it is the only branch of the military whose members could go without pay, according to a report from NBC News. The other branches of military fall under the Department of Defense, which continues to be funded during the shutdown.

Active-duty Coast Guard members must still continue to work, even without pay, because they serve an essential mission, a Coast Guard spokesman has said, such as protecting life and property, primarily through search-and-rescue missions.

However a large portion of the Coast Guard’s civilian workforce has been furloughed without pay during the shutdown, which began last Saturday. Of the 8,700 civilian workforce members across the country, only 1,300 continue to work through the shutdown.

BDN Writer Lauren Abbate contributed to this report.



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