ILWACO — Coast Guard personnel were set to be paid on Dec. 31 despite a partial shutdown of the federal government, but the timing of their next paycheck is uncertain.
The decision to pay for December was described by the Coast Guard as a “one-time action” that covers December and does not guarantee paychecks will be issued for the next pay period on Jan. 15 if the shutdown continues.
“I recognize that this changes course from previously provided guidance on military pay,” Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray wrote in a message Friday, according to the Military Times. “However, this is outstanding news for our military workforce.”
The Coast Guard, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was the only branch of the military that faced working without pay during the shutdown. Other branches are part of the U.S. Department of Defense, which has already been funded by the government.
An estimated 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members were working without the promise of pay since the shutdown began Dec. 22.
Coast Guard Sector Columbia River is based at the Astoria Regional Airport in Warrenton. Astoria, which hosts cutters at the 17th Street Dock downtown, is a Coast Guard City.
In Ilwaco, the Coast Guard has Station Cape Disappointment and the National Motor Lifeboat School.
Lt. Russell Tippets, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s District 13 in Seattle, said Coast Guardsmen received a Dec. 28 email from Ray explaining they would receive their normal paychecks on Dec. 31 for the previous two weeks.
“He said internally the organization found a way to fund everyone through this next paycheck,” Tippets said.
Ray also indicated that no further paychecks would come until the government shutdown is resolved, Tippets said.
President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress are at odds over the president’s demand for money for a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico.