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Oregon Senator Leads Push to Pay Coast Guard During Shutdown

The U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of the military where service members are currently going unpaid during the partial government shutdown, now in its 21st day.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 10:16 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 10:21 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the partial government shutdown drags into its 21st day, one of Oregon's senators has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing to provide pay for members of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the only branch of the military to be working unpaid.

“Coast Guard members are risking their lives to keep Oregon’s coasts safe, yet are stressing over missed payments on mortgages, rents, utilities, child care, and more,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. “This is irresponsible and unacceptable, and we need to make sure our military members feel secure in their daily lives while they’re protecting our nation."

Coast Guard employees have been encouraged to "consider holding a garage sale, babysitting, dog-walking or serving as a 'mystery shopper'" in lieu of pay, according to recent reporting by the Washington Post. These suggestions were part of a five-page tip sheet issued by the Coast Guard Support Program to thousands of employees either furloughed or working without pay.

A statement from Merkley's office cited the recent deaths of three fisherman off the Oregon coast, to which USCG rescuers responded. Rescuers like those, according to Merkley, are among the thousands of USCG personnel going unpaid during the shutdown.

"When the fishermen’s boat capsized on the stormy Pacific Ocean, Coast Guard ship and air crews searched through the storm for the fishermen who were thrown overboard. Tragically, the men did not survive," Merkley's office said.

The Pay Our Coast Guard Act promises to appropriate funds in order to pay salaries to members of the Coast Guard, civilian USCG employees, and contractors working with them. It would also authorize payments for death benefits, funeral travel, and housing allowances.

“I recognize that hundreds of thousands of other federal employees are not being paid,” Merkley said, “and I will do everything I can to fight to right that wrong, as well.”

The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of the following lawmakers: Senators John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Doug Jones (D-AL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

The bill and a companion measure in the House of Representatives have been introduced, but not yet passed.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
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