VIDEO: Rep. Susan Wild Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Fund the Coast Guard During the Shutdown
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to fund the Coast Guard - including salaries for Coast Guard members - during the government shutdown. The bill has 15 cosponsors – including Pennsylvania Reps. Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).
The lapse in government funding in December resulted in approximately 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members - including 320 in Pennsylvania- working without pay. Because the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, it is the only branch of the armed forces currently running without funding. Wild's bill would temporarily fund the Coast Guard until an agreement is reached to fully fund the government, ensuring Coast Guard members receive paychecks during the entire shutdown.
Wild spoke on the House floor this morning to share the story of a Coast Guard family in Nazareth, PA that has been forced to dip into their emergency savings to pay for groceries. In her speech Wild said, “It’s important to take a step back and remind ourselves of what’s at stake for Janeen’s family and thousands like them: As long as the government is shutdown and until this bill is passed by the House and Senate and signed into law, Janeen’s husband won’t get a paycheck on the 15th of this month. Already, their family has been forced to dip into their savings and emergency fund just to buy groceries and keep the lights on.”
Upon introduction, Wild said, “The men and women in uniform tasked with protecting our borders are working without pay right now because of a partisan fight they have no control over. That is unacceptable. My bill would fund the Coast Guard through the shutdown and ensure Coast Guard members are receiving their hard earned paychecks. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, I must say, this is a shameful way to treat the men and women who have devoted their lives to serving our country and the families who serve and sacrifice alongside them. To truly keep our borders secure, we should pay the people responsible for securing them.”
Rep. Madeleine Dean (PA-04) said, "Coast Guard members risk their lives for the rest of us, and they deserve to know that they’ll be paid what they’ve been promised. This isn’t a lot to ask—it’s basic decency."
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) said, “This senseless shutdown is impacting the lives of countless families across the country. Some of the families hit hardest are those of our Coast Guard, the only service members not being paid during this shutdown. Our office has heard from numerous family members of our Coast Guard who are living in absolute uncertainty, not knowing when the next paycheck will come. I am proud to support Congresswoman Wild’s legislation to restore salaries to our Coast Guard members and am grateful to her for leading this charge. The American people deserve better and we need to work together to re-open our government."
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) said, "The brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard work tirelessly to protect our nation. Delayed compensation for their service due to Congressional inaction is simply unacceptable. I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation to ensure Coast Guard personnel receive payment for their duties.”
Full list of cosponsors of H.R. 421, the Continuing Appropriations for the Coast Guard Act, includes U.S. Representatives Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Elaine Luria (D-OR), Max Rose (D-NY), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rob Wittman (R-VA).