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Committee passes bill that would allow Coast Guard members to be paid during shutdowns

June 28 (UPI) — A House committee approved legislation that would allow U.S. Coast Guard members to be paid during any future government shutdowns.

The voice vote came on Wednesday as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019.

The Coast Guard is primarily funded by the Department of Homeland Security, which was affected by the 35-day shutdown of the government in 2018. Coast Guard members missed a Jan. 15 paycheck and were reimbursed after funding was restored in late January. The 41,000 active duty Coast Guard members, 6,000 reservists and 8,500 civilian workers remained on the job despite the shutdown. An employee support program offered suggestions for managing family finances during the shutdown, including garage sales and babysitting, that was widely criticized.

“The federal government may have been partially shut down earlier this year, but the brave men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard were still one hundred percent on the job-in the dead of winter no less-carrying out life-saving rescues, interdicting drugs at sea, and doing whatever was necessary to keep our coastal communities safe,” Committee Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said in a statement Wednesday. “I want to make sure this hostage-taking never happens again.”

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019 finalizes appropriations for the Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission through the 2021 fiscal year. It includes language suggesting an overhaul of the Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet on the Great Lakes, and authorizes $ 110 million on design work for updated icebreakers.

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