Coast Guard advises furloughed employees hold garage sales, babysit to ease financial woes

The Coast Guard, in a tip-sheet that has since been removed from its website, encouraged its employees to hold garage sales or babysit to ease their financial woes during the partial government shutdown, The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday.

A five-page memo from the Coast Guard Support Program, an Employee Assistance Program for members of the service, laid out advice for unpaid workers, including a section on supplementing income.

According to the Post, the memo applied to the roughly 8,000-strong civilian arm of the Coast Guard, about three-fourths of which are furloughed and the rest of whom are working without pay.

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Among other suggestions, the Coast Guard Support Program's "Managing your finances during a furlough" pamphlet suggested that service members pick up a babysitting gig, hold a garage sale and serve as a "mystery shopper."

“While it may be uncomfortable to deal with the hard facts, it’s best to avoid the 'hide your head in the sand’ reaction," the sheet said. "Stay in charge of the situation by getting a clear understanding of what’s happening.”

The pamphlet was taken off of the Coast Guard's website on Wednesday morning after the Post inquired about it.

"[The suggestions] do not reflect the Coast Guard’s current efforts to support our workforce during this lapse in appropriations," Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a Coast Guard spokesman, told the Post. “As such, this guidance has been removed.”

Members of the Coast Guard last month received their final paycheck of 2018 despite the shutdown, after the service had announced that paychecks would be delayed.

The next paycheck is scheduled for Tuesday. The Post also reports that many Coast Guard families are not receiving their housing allowances during the shutdown.

“Coast Guard uniformed personnel will continue to perform their duties during a partial government shutdown and will provide essential services such as search and rescue, port and homeland safety and security, law enforcement and environmental response,” Chief Warrant Officer Chad Saylor, a spokesman, said in a statement to The Hill in December. “However, with a government shutdown, they will likely not have the full support that they need in order to maintain mission readiness.” 

The Homeland Security Department is one of several government agencies that shut down after funding lapsed on Dec. 22. 

The shutdown was in its 19th day on Wednesday as White House negotiators and Democratic leaders have been unable to come to an agreement over President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon authorizes B in counter-drug money for Trump's border wall Elizabeth Warren after TMZ catches her sprinting to catch train: 'Try and keep up' GOP governor criticizes Trump's 'dangerous rhetoric' about the media MORE's demand for more than $5 million in border wall funding. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures.

Some 800,000 federal workers are set to miss their first full paycheck starting Friday as a result of the shutdown.

Earlier in the shutdown, the Office of Personnel Management faced pushback for releasing a similar memo to its employees, suggesting that they barter with their landlords as they seek extensions.

The shutdown seems set to become the longest in the nation’s history on Saturday.

Updated at 5:25 p.m.