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Navy League Statement to Congress Urging Coast Guard, Maritime Administration Pay to Be Restored Immediately

Today, the Navy League of the United States National President Alan Kaplan and National Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jonathan Kaskin issued the following letter, urging the newly elected Congress to pass funding that would ensure that Coast Guard men and women and Maritime Administration employees and their families be paid and have backpay restored immediately.

To voice your concerns about how the government shutdown is affecting our Coast Guard and Merchant Mariners, go to our Voice to Congress page and write your representatives.

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

On behalf of the Navy League’s 40,000 members, I encourage you to keep in mind the important work of our nation’s sea services to our nation’s security and economy and reach a compromise to end the government shutdown quickly and restore pay retroactively to our Coast Guard service men and women and employees of the Maritime Administration.

Until funding is restored, approximately 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard service men and women will continue to report for duty to this nation without pay, as well as 340 employees of the Maritime Administration (MARAD). Four hundred nineteen MARAD staff and thousands of Coast Guard civilian employees are currently furloughed without pay until a deal is reached. This is important because some live paycheck to paycheck, and if the shutdown extends beyond a couple of weeks, they will have cash-flow problems resulting in an inability to pay bills for themselves and their families, which may adversely affect their credit.

The Coast Guard is the only agency that is simultaneously a military service, as well as a law enforcement and regulatory agency. The agency punches above its weight providing a significant return on taxpayer investment. It executes its 11 statutory missions with professionalism and courage, ranging from national defense to homeland security, from search and rescue, to drug interdiction, environmental protection, and aids to navigation. MARAD is charged with maintaining the health of a U.S.-flag fleet that is critical to national security. It provides support to current Mariners, instructs future Mariners, and educates young people about the vital role the maritime industry plays in the lives of all Americans.

It is essential that you agree to a regular appropriations bill that funds the remainder of FY19 providing for the Coast Guard and MARAD. The bill should also include new starts, such as the $750 million for the Polar Security Cutter. Additionally, all essential workers working without pay or furloughed need their pay quickly and retroactively restored.

If you cannot agree on a regular appropriations bill and choose to fund agencies in FY19 with a continuing resolution at the levels of FY18, we ask that any back pay issues be resolved quickly and an anomaly allowing the procurement of the Polar Security Cutter be included.

Congress can also introduce and pass a bill similar to S. 545, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, from the 114th Congress, which provides pay and allowances to members of the Coast Guard and Reserve component, who perform active service, along with pay and allowances to civilian and contractors of the Coast Guard, until enactment of a regular or continuing appropriations provides for the same.

Please recognize the damaging effects a prolonged impasse will have on the men, women and their families who perform vital missions for our nation’s security. Our military men and women and Department of Defense civilians are currently being paid, but our Coast Guard, who serve as the nation’s fifth military branch, and MARAD employees are under different appropriations accounts and are working without pay alongside their paid counterparts in the DoD.

We understand there are substantial policy issues at stake, but we urge you to consider the impact a prolonged shutdown would have on the dedicated men and women and their families who work in the sea services and come to an agreement swiftly that restores pay and provides them essential resources, including the Polar Security Cutter. Combined with the U.S.-flag fleet, the Coast Guard remains Semper Paratus, “always ready,” for us. We must return the favor.

Sincerely,

Alan Kaplan
Alan Kaplan
National President
Navy League of the United States

Jonathan Kaskin signature
Jonathan Kaskin
National Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Navy League of the United States



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