‘Unacceptable’ that Coast Guard must rely on charity to get through government shutdown, commandant says

‘Unacceptable’ that Coast Guard must rely on charity to get through government shutdown, commandant says
The U.S. Coast Guard is the only U.S. military branch going without pay during the government shutdown. The head of the Coast Guard discussed the consequences on social media Wednesday.

(CNN) – The U.S. Coast Guard is the only military branch going without pay during the government shutdown.

The officer in charge discussed the consequences on social media Wednesday, in an extraordinary rebuke of the political stalemate forcing the shutdown.

“You, as members of the Armed Forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden,” Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said in a video he tweeted Wednesday.

Schultz said he was “heartened” by the “outpouring of support from local communities across the nation."

"But ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members," he said.

The video now has over 1 million views.

Members of the Coast Guard, who are about to miss their second paycheck, continue to deploy in the U.S. and around the world.

The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense, which is why it’s affected by the shutdown.

It serves a unique role, acting as both a branch of the military and a law enforcement body, guarding American shores against illegal immigration and drug smuggling, carrying out daring rescue missions, while also going into harm’s way in foreign waters – like, for instance, guarding Iraq’s oil rigs in the Persian Gulf, just miles from the coast of Iran.

Alongside over 40,000 uniformed Coast Guard forces, there are an additional 8,000 in the civilian workforce.

"The Coast Guard is the maritime equivalent of FAA,” said Adm. Thad Allen, a former Coast Guard commandant. “So, vessel inspections, licensing new mariners, things that are basic safety for the transportation system and commerce of this country, are going to slowly be eroded due to lack of resources and personnel. This is going to have far-reaching economic impacts."

Lines are growing as Coast Guard members head to food banks instead of grocery stores.

Guardsmen are limited from speaking to the media, but that hasn’t stopped their spouses from expressing their anger.

"We don't know how we're going to pay our mortgage. We don't know how we're going to pay our bills," said Tiffany Lyford, the wife of a guardsman.

Early into the shutdown, a tip sheet was posted on a Coast Guard support site with suggestions for “managing your finances during a furlough.”

Tips included getting a tutoring job, holding a garage sale and turning “your hobby into income.”

Outrage quickly followed and the list was removed.

As the shutdown drags on and frustration grows, Adm. Schultz closed his video with a message of solidarity.

"Continue to stand tall. Your dedication and resilience to this adversity defines the absolute best of our nation," he said.

The government has been shut down for more than a month.

President Donald Trump has offered temporary protections to some immigrants in exchange for a barrier along the border, but Democrats aren’t showing their support.

It’s unlikely that any funding bill will pass both chambers of Congress this week.

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