Politics aside, no matter how you swing in the debate over “The Wall” and the government shutdown, if you are a sailor and a cruiser, then you will be concerned about the status of the U.S. Coast Guard on which we all depend for safety, rescues at sea and so many other vital services to mariners. The Coast Guard falls in the Department of homeland Security so it was ostensibly defunded as of December 21, 2018.
It is reported that through some back-channel maneuvering, the coasties, many of whom are paid at near poverty-level wages plus allowances, received a paycheck at the end of December. That’s a good thing. What happens this week, when they all are due for their first paycheck of 2019 is still, as of Wednesday, an open question. Yet, the men and women of the service are out there doing their jobs as professionally and bravely as ever.
The Miami Herald reports that a bipartisan group in Congress has put forward a bill called the “Pay Our Coast Guard Act” that would end run the shutdown and provide the funds needed to keep the coasties paid and solvent. While the political debate over border security goes forward, it makes sense to support those who serve in vital safety services, who are not part of the politics, by keeping them paid as they bravely do their duty to the country. After all, in addition to being first responders for all mariners, they are a first line of defense along our borders and leaders in drug interdiction, both key concerns in “The Wall” debate. Read more here.