With the partial federal shutdown about to reach the end of its third week, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who briefly chaired the U.S. House Coast Guard Subcommittee last year, wants to “provide funding for the United States Coast Guard and ensure that active duty and reserve members of the Coast Guard are paid during the government shutdown.”
Mast joined U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oreg., U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., to bring out the “Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act” on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Mast weighed in on why he was backing the proposal.
“Members of the Coast Guard are the only members of the United States military not being paid right now,” Mast said. “As one of the five Armed Services, the United States Coast Guard always upholds their duty to our country, continuing to perform critical missions that protect and defend our nation. We must uphold our duty to the men and women of the Coast Guard by ensuring their paychecks continue on schedule.”
“The Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019, which mirrors a Senate companion bill, provides funding during any period during which interim or full-year appropriations for the Coast Guard are not in effect,” Mast’s office noted. “The Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act provides for: pay and allowances for active duty and reserve members of the Coast Guard; pay and allowances for civilian employees of the Coast Guard; pay and allowances for contractors of the Coast Guard; payment of death gratuities with respect to members of the Coast Guard; payment or reimbursement of authorized funeral travel and travel related to the dignified transfer of remains and unit memorial services with respect to members of the Coast Guard; temporary continuation of a basic housing allowance for dependents of members of the Coast Guard dying while on active duty; and Coast Guard retired pay and benefits.”
The bill, which DeFazio introduced, was sent to the U.S. House Appropriations and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
There are similar bills in the House from U.S. Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, D-NJ, and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Penn. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is backing Wild’s bill.
As Mast noted, there is also similar legislation over in the Senate from U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-SD, which U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is backing.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.