Thanks to what he calls a “quirk in history,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that members of one United States military branch may not get paid in full during the government shutdown.
The U.S. Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is not funded during the shutdown.
But other military branches are because they belong to the Department of Defense.
Blumenthal’s proposed a bill that would pay active-duty Coast Guard personnel during this government shutdown – and any future ones.
“They have the need for this payment, particularly the young members, will be faced with real hardship if they are unpaid,” said Blumenthal from Union Station in New London on December 31.
That’s the same city that’s home to the Coast Guard Academy.
“We want to make sure that the Coast Guard is paid just like every other military service,” Blumenthal said. “No pay makes no sense.”
The Trump administration made an emergency payment Monday to fund some 42,000 active-duty members of the Coast Guard, but Blumenthal said that one-time payment may not cover them as the shutdown continues.
He’s unsure if President Donald Trump would sign the proposed bill.
“To predict what President Trump may or may not do is pretty hazardous,” Blumenthal said. “What I do know is: there’s strong bipartisan support in the United States Senate for paying the Coast Guard just like every other military service.”
With bipartisan support – and a signature from the president – Blumenthal said it could take about a week to get a bill like this passed once the new Congress convenes.