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Coast Guard has still not recovered from shutdown, commandant says

Coast Guard has still not recovered from shutdown, commandant says

PortandTerminal.com, March 28, 2019

The commandant of the Coast Guard said Tuesday that it has not yet fully recovered from the effects of the partial government shutdown, which ended in January.

“I think we’re 75 percent reconstituted,” said Admiral Karl Schultz in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the budget.

President Trump in late December instigated the government shutdown in an attempt to force Congress to fund his proposed border wall. Congress eventually allocated just $1.35 billion of the $5.7 billion Trump requested for border barriers, prompting Trump to declare a state of emergency to reprogram military funds for the wall.

Many Coast Guard families were forced to rely on food banks during the last government shutdown

The Commandant and I are acutely aware of the challenges you and your families experienced over the past five weeks and are anxious to reconstitute our total mission ready workforce so we can heal and move forward.  We recognize that missing pay checks and the overall uncertainty during the lapse in appropriations resulted in hardship and concern for our military and civilian workforce.

Message to USCG members from Admiral Charles W. Ray, Vice Commandant during the shutdown last January

The record 35-day partial shutdown hit the Coast Guard, which is funded through the same Department of Homeland Security bill that deals with border security. Most Coast Guard employees had to work without pay, while some employees and contractors were furloughed.

“For an organization that’s struggling with readiness, the shutdown does not help that. It sort of exacerbates that,” Schultz said.

“Some things we never get back. We had to defer boat maintenance periods, those are our fleets of hundreds of small boats, cutter maintenance periods, some of that just got pushed to the right. We had furloughed contracting officers, so you just can’t do that kind of work. That is not recoverable,” he said in response to a question from Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee.

chultz offered assurances that the Coast Guard would be ready ahead of June 1, when hurricane season begins.

“In the next month or so, I think we’re going to be back to a good place,” he said.

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