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Coast Guard paid despite shutdown, not guaranteed in January


MANISTEE COUNTY — Local U.S. Coast Guard workers stationed in Manistee will receive a paycheck despite the partial government shutdown, but further pay in January is not guaranteed until a budget is passed.

Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray announced on Friday the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found a way to pay employees, following a partial shutdown that started on Dec. 22.

Congress has not passed a federal budget, and the shutdown is set to extend into the new year.

According to a Coast Guard All Hands post on Dec. 28, the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard workforce, DHS and Coast Guard officials identified a way to pay workers on Dec. 31.

However, it was described as a “one-time action.”

Petty Officer Brian McCrum, with the U.S. Coast Guard’s 9th District in Cleveland, said they are not guaranteed paychecks for the next pay period on Jan. 15, if the shutdown does not end.

“We were paid for Dec. 31,” McCrum said. “As of Jan. 1, there is no guarantee. We are expected to get back pay, whenever they come to a resolution on the funding. But as long as the shutdown continues there is no guarantee we will get paid on Jan. 15.”

Coast Guard Station Manistee workers are still active amid the shutdown. Petty officer Adrian Ledesma confirmed in a past interview that operations across the region will see very little impact.

The Coast Guard Station Manistee also serves Frankfort and Ludington areas through the winter months.

“All coast guardsmen are still on duty despite the temporary lapse in funding, and we are maintaining the same diligence that we do year-round,” Ledesma said. “My crew and I are on duty right now, and we still maintain our search and rescue readiness for ice rescue and waterborne missions.”

Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security lapsed on Dec. 21, when a budget deal was not met.

Members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines are not impacted by the shutdown, but Coast Guard funding is handled through the DHS, not the Department of Defense. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also not impacted by the shutdown.

Officials did not release details on how they covered the shortfall in funding of $75 million, while the shutdown impacts nearly 42,000 Coast Guard workers.

According to the Associated Press, funding for President Donald Trump’s project, a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, is the focal point of the shutdown. Democrats opposed the measure.

A White House briefing was held on Wednesday afternoon. Negotiations will resume today, when Congress reconvenes with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

On Monday, House Democrats also unveiled a package of bills that could potentially re-open the federal government, the Associated Press reported. The package does not include the $5 billion Trump wants for the wall.

The House plans for two separate votes today. If approved, the bills go to the Senate.

Trump is able to accept or reject either bill, but his response is not clear at this time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.