Coast Guard says final paychecks of year will come despite shutdown

Members of the Coast Guard will get their final paycheck of the year on Monday despite the partial government shutdown, the service announced on Friday night after previously saying that the paychecks would be delayed.

"The administration, the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018," the service said in an update on its website on Friday night. "This one-time action applies to military members that served on active duty in the month of December and those reserve military members that drilled prior to the lapse in appropriation."

The Coast Guard stressed the action that allowed the Dec. 31 paycheck does not apply to the next one, which is scheduled for Jan. 15.


"Meeting active duty and reserve military payroll for January 2019 will require a fiscal year 2019 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure," the Coast Guard website's says.

The move came after multiple news outlets, including The Hill, reported that Coast Guard members would not receive their paychecks Monday. A spokesman for the Coast Guard had confirmed to The Hill at around 5:30 p.m. Friday that was the case.

Details on the reversal were not immediately clear.

"Ultimately, extensive research and legal analysis between the Coast Guard, DHS, and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] determined the Coast Guard has the authority to execute the remainder of pay and allowances for December," the Coast Guard said on its website.

Most federal employees will get paid for their pre-shutdown work as scheduled between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3, according to OMB guidance.

But the Coast Guard is on the military’s pay schedule, which does not allow for partial payments. The shutdown started in the middle of the pay period.

In addition to pre-shutdown work, 42,000 active-duty members of the Coast Guard are working during the shutdown, as well as about 1,300 civilian employees.

“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 earlier Friday. “However, with a government shutdown, they will likely not have the full support that they need in order to maintain mission readiness.”

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military affected by the shutdown because it is funded through DHS, not the Pentagon.

The Pentagon’s fiscal 2019 funding bill was signed into law in September. But Homeland Security is one of several government agencies that shut down after funding lapsed last week.

When the shutdown ends, the Coast Guard pay that would have come Dec. 31 will be processed in three to five days, according to the Coast Guard’s website.

The shutdown stretched into its seventh day Friday and appeared poised to drag into 2019 as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE and Democrats dig in on their stances over Trump's demands for $5 billion in funding for his border wall.

In previous shutdowns, Congress has passed bills to ensure active-duty troops who have to work through the shutdown continue to get paid. But there has been no sign of Congress doing so for the Coast Guard this time.

The Senate is adjourned until Monday, when it will be in a pro forma session. The House, meanwhile, has been in a holding pattern until the Senate acts, though Democrats have said they will move to reopen the government when they take control of the House on Jan. 3.

— This story was updated at 8:56 p.m. with new information from the Coast Guard