Maine Coast Guard Members Work Without Pay During Shutdown

Dec 28, 2018

Active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Maine will not receive their paycheck next week if, as expected, Congress and President Donald Trump fail to pass a continuing resolution by Friday to end the government shutdown.

Members stationed in Maine are a part of the 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members across the country who are working without pay until the government passes a resolution that would restore funding to the Department of Homeland Security, which the Coast Guard falls under, according to Coast Guard District 1 Petty Officer Andrew Barrise.

The Coast Guard has facilities in South Portland, Boothbay, Rockland, Belfast, Southwest Harbor, Jonesport and Eastport. Barrise did not know the exact number of active-duty Coast Guard members stationed in Maine, but according to the media platform Governing, as of 2017, there were 572 active-duty Coast Guard members in the state.

A spokesperson with Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in South Portland did not immediately respond to a message Thursday afternoon. Messages left with officers at Maine’s Coast Guard facilities were either not immediately returned or passed along to Sector Northern New England or Barrise.

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, Barrise 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 Saturday. Of the 8,700 civilian workforce members across the country, only 1,300 continue to work through the shutdown, Barrise said.

If a funding resolution is not passed by Friday, the Coast Guard’s military workforce will not receive paychecks that are due on Dec. 31. Barrise said Coast Guard members are paid twice a month, meaning the first shutdown-triggered payless payday would fall on that date.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.