“Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members,” he said, speaking on a video posted to his Twitter account.
The comments marked the admiral’s most forceful remarks about the shutdown since it began 32 days ago amid a dispute over President Trump’s demands for funding for a southern border wall. While the majority of the U.S. military is part of the Defense Department and has funding, the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies, including the Coast Guard, are affected by the shutdown.
About 41,000 active-duty service members and 2,100 civilians who are considered “essential personnel” are working without a paycheck under the promise they will get back pay when the shutdown is resolved, said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a service spokesman. That situation grew more urgent Jan. 15, when service members missed a paycheck. An additional 6,000 civilians working for the service are furloughed.