The current partial shutdown of the U.S. government has now lasted 27 days. There have been 20 government shutdowns since 1976 — this one is the longest in U.S. history.
Much of the shutdown can be attributed to a standoff over President Donald Trump's demands for $5.7 billion in appropriations to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The shutdown impacts about a quarter of the government, including nine federal departments and several other agencies. According to The New York Times, roughly 800,000 government workers are currently going without pay and more than 50 percent of these workers are still expected to come to work.
Among those workers are members of the U.S. military. Navy Times estimates that as many as 43,000 Coast Guard employees are working through the shutdown without pay.
"Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled mid-month paycheck," wrote Admiral Schultz. "To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation's history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations."
He continued, "I recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this situation places on you and your family, and we are working closely with service organizations on your behalf. To this end, I am encouraged to share that Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) has received a $15 million donation from USAA to support our people in need. In partnership with CGMA, the American Red Cross will assist in the distribution of these funds to our military and civilian workforce requiring assistance."
Schultz continued, "It is also not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are already adjusting to a missed paycheck — we are confronting this challenge together."
The statement ends with with encouragement to Coast Guard members to "stay the course, stand the watch and serve with pride."
The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that does not receive funding during the government shutdown, because it falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, and not the Department of Defense.
"We don't know how long the government shutdown will last, but the Coast Guard is statutorily obligated to maintain the essential safety, security and environmental protection services the public expects during the government shutdown," Coast Guard Lt. Commander Scott McBride told CBS in a statement. "Absent an approved budget, the longer the shutdown lasts, the more difficult it will become for the Coast Guard to maintain mission readiness."
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