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"This is a Crisis": Pay the Coast Guards before the government's stoppage



Petty Officer of the Coast Guard 1st grade Joseph Stoltz and his wife Jenilee knew he was drawn to Guam's military career would be an adaptation. But after two typhoons hit the Pacific Island this fall, the family now faces another worry: a federal government closure whose end is not in sight.

The closure of parts of the government has not affected the other military services because the Ministry of Defense has done so, a budget that will be approved next year. However, the Coast Guard receives funding from the Department of Homeland Security, which is being closed down together with the other authorities of the Department.

The situation came to a head when Congress condemned this week without argument in the dispute over the $ 5 billion proposed by President Trump.

The closure could affect approximately 42,000 Coast Guard and 1,300 civilians assigned to the service, Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a service spokesman. Another 7,400 Coast Guard civilians are now on vacation indefinitely.

The Coast Guard announced on Friday that it will pay service members until December 31, McBride said, addressing an even more serious situation. Each paycheck afterwards requires a new spending agreement. The last pay period for civilian employees ended on December 22nd.

In total, around 420,000 government employees work under the promise that they will be paid retrospectively, with another 350,000 going on vacation home.

The situation has become increasingly frustrating for many Coast Guard family members, some of whom have said they are upset that they are being treated differently than the rest of the military. With many missions in expensive coastal areas, the service staff not only rely on paychecks, but also on frozen state housing subsidies, which increases the income.

"The fact that I now have to worry that our bills will be paid on time because of the Congress and all those involved. Otherwise, they waited until the last minute to do so. This is frustrating, "said Jenilee Stoltz, who renounced Christmas gifts earlier this year because of the costs of typhoon. "We have no luck. We have no options left. "

Coastguards shy away from interviews, in keeping with the military tradition of keeping members of the lower ranks of political issues out of line. However, several military spouses, who are not subject to the same restrictions, said Trump and the legislature, if they can not agree on the wall, want a deal to be made to save the service members from financial ruin. The Pay Our Coast Guard Act was introduced in 2015 by Senator John Thune (RS.D.), but did not receive traction.

Natalie Daniels, the wife of a corporal, said this when her family was reassigned. For San Diego, Maine, they were impressed by how much the cost of living was. The family, which includes four children, rents a small three-bedroom home for $ 2,600 a month.

"The fact that we sit here is absurd," said Daniels, who has just graduated with a bachelor's degree. "On Facebook, there are Coast Guard sites where women say," I know that there is not much, but if someone needs diapers, let us help them. Let's create a spreadsheet and help each other. "That's the sad part. The government is not trying to help us. "

The service will remain operational during downtime, performing operations that include law enforcement, search and rescue, port security and environmental response, McBride said. Other "unimportant" operations will be delayed or restricted, including safety checks on recreational craft, fisheries control and routine maritime shipping services.

The situation of the Coast Guard has aroused the old feeling that the service's contributions to Washington are not valued as much as the rest of the military.

In some quarters, it has also undermined the goodwill that Trump has built up with the service, highlighting the hurricane relief, praising its "brand" and promising to fund icebreaker vessels calling for heightened polar safety were. The financing of the ships is now on the move, with the Senate version of a budget earmarked for $ 750 million to build the first new ship. The house version does not contain the money, a symptom of trying to find money for Trump's Wall.

Brooke Kuczka, whose husband is a corporal in Mobile, Ala. Is, said she was angry to see [Donnerstag] the Trump Tweet with no evidence that most people who are not paid by the deadlock are Democrats.

"Many people in the military are traditionally Republicans, so I can not believe he said that," she said. "It's bananas that the people working on the border are the ones who are not paid now."

Ashley Totten, who lives with her small officer near Houston, said she does not care if someone is a Republican or a Democrat as long as they fight for their family. She stays home and takes care of a son with heart defects.

"We were worried about whether he needed open-heart surgery or not," she said. "It deserves my attention, I'm not trying to figure out how long we'll be okay without money coming in."

Several Coast Guard family members said the situation was caused by USAA, a financial services company that provides banking and insurance to 11 million people with military connections.

In earlier government shutdowns, the company granted interest rates to members of the service who had to repay the money when the government reopened. This time, USAA opted instead to offer loans with a minimum of $ 2,500 and an annual percentage of $ 0.01.

"We have been to USAA for 14 years now and have actually started to break away from them." Said Kristin Kuzik, whose husband is based at the Saginaw River in Michigan. "We were very disappointed that they did not have our backs and would not allow us to delay credit. "

A USAA spokesman, Matthew Hartwig, said the company understood," The fear that many Coast Guard families feel during this closure. " The USAA has decided to "redesign" its offerings to allow the affected service members 12 months to repay the money with a loan instead of prompting them.

"The product we offer now should be more flexible." Hartwig said, "It would be accessible to other members of the active service in the other departments of the military if they were faced with wage problems." There is a potential new potential reality render or prolonged government stalemates.

Kuzik said she was grateful that members of her church had put together $ 340 in food and gas vouchers when they heard how the closure would affect her family. Not everyone is so lucky, she said.

"For me, this is a crisis for the people," she said. "They are empty and we do not know when the reward will come."


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