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Efforts Being Made To Support Coast Guard During Government Shutdown

With the partial federal government shutdown about to enter into its fifth week, Boat Owners Association of The United States is supporting bipartisan legislation to immediately restore pay for U.S. Coast Guard members, according to a press release from the Alexandria, Va.-based organization.

S. 21, “Pay Our Coast Guard Act,” recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and its companion bill, H.R. 367, “Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019,” introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), aims to restore paychecks to the more than 40,000 active duty U.S. Coast Guard service members.

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A crew aboard the 52-foot Motor Life Boat Invincible II from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor prepares to tow a disabled vessel while a second Station Grays Harbor boat crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat standby near Grays Harbor, Washington, Jan. 7, 2019. Photo courtesy/copyright U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Grays Harbor.

BoatUS is urging recreational boaters to ask their members of Congress for support of S.21 and H.R. 367 and offers a simple way to do that by going clicking here.

“While we understand the current debate over funding of the Department of Homeland Security is primarily about issues not directly related to the U.S. Coast Guard, we are concerned over the potential deterioration of its ability to fulfill its wide range of missions including search and rescue, boating safety regulation, and support for aids-to-navigation,” Chris Edmonston, the vice president of government affairs for BoatUS, in Jan. 15 letter to Thune and DeFazio. “We support your effort to ensure that USCG personnel will receive compensation notwithstanding the final passage of the DHS 2019 appropriation legislation. This will allow them to focus on their missions and help ensure the safety of recreational boaters.”

In a related move, the Coast Guard Foundation, a Stonington, Conn.-headquartered nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced this week that the organization is sending an initial $250,000 in family support to assist Coast Guard families impacted by shutdown. As noted by the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz, according to a press releases from the organization, this is the first time in the Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in appropriations.

“We are here to support the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard, who continue to stand the watch during this challenging time,” said Susan Ludwig, president, Coast Guard Foundation.“While these funds will not cover the $150 million it takes to fund the Service’s payroll, we can send our help to those who continue to put their lives on the line every day and serve our nation with pride.”

The Coast Guard Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association to distribute the support to members around the country.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have seen across the country in response to the needs of Coast Guard service members and their families,” added Ludwig. “Every day, Americans are stepping up to help the Foundation and other Coast Guard community-serving organizations.”

To make a donation, click here.

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