Once again we’ve arrived at the time of year when the government is talking about cutting budget and bills. The hot topic this year is immigration, and with everything going on right now, it’s a great topic for them to be discussing. So what’s the problem? They can’t reach an agreement on this subject.
So what does immigration have to do with the Coast Guard you ask? Everything!
Since 2003, the Coast Guard has fallen under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, in which there budget comes straight from them. It also means that if the government is not able to reach an agreement on immigration issues, then Homeland Security will be without a budget. As a result, “more than 230, 000 federal employees could be affected. This includes more than 41,000 U.S. Coast Guard personnel across the country.” (Doty)
So what exactly does this mean? This means that members of the Coast Guard will end up having to work without pay until the government can reach an agreement. If the Department of Homeland Security goes without a budget, those people that protect our coasts will do so for nothing. They will still have no choice but to do their jobs, as they are part of the military, but they won’t be paid for it.
To date, budget cuts have affected the Coast Guard’s mission in many ways. However, this is the biggest issue that they have been faced with to this point. The members of the Coast Guard already do more with less, but now they could be expected to do it all and not get paid for it. This affects more than just the members, this affects their families. Members of the Coast Guard not getting paid could mean that they can’t pay their bills or worse yet, put food on their tables.
If the government doesn’t make this decision by the end of this month, Coast Guard members have seen their last paycheck for the foreseeable future. The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, has not yet made an official announcement regarding this issue. This however, still leaves Coast Guard members and their families worrying about what their future could look like without a paycheck.
What most people don’t realize is that many Coast Guard families are single income families. They rely on the members paycheck for everything, and most of them are already living paycheck to paycheck. A future without pay, even a temporary one, is scary. Their well-being completely depends on the government coming together and making a decision on one issue… immigration.
What else affects the budget?
Production on more efficient cutters would have to be stopped. They would have a lack of funding for everyday missions of search and rescue,drug interdiction and environmental safety.
The government has just a few more days to come to an agreement on immigration. If they can’t, the Coast Guard will have a big issue of its own to face.