What the Coast Guard Crisis Should Teach Congress

President Donald Trump is fond of bragging (and exaggerating) how much he and his administration have done for the women and men who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Either he did not know, or his staff did not tell him, that there are five branches of the U.S. military. In addition to the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, which are in the Department of Defense, there is the U.S. Coast Guard.

While the women and men who serve in the military branches in the Department of Defense—and their civilian counterparts—did get paid during this particular government shutdown (because the Congress has already passed a defense budget for fiscal year 2019), the fifty-five thousand active duty, reserve and civilian members of the Coast Guard are going without pay. This number includes forty-two thousand active duty service members who had no choice but to report for duty until their obligated term of service expires. The reason that these women and men—like their counterparts in the other four services—put their lives at risk for this country every day of the shutdown is because the Coast Guard, which is the nation’s oldest maritime service, is housed within the Department of Homeland Security, which is one of the agencies that does not yet have a budget for this fiscal year.

This article was originally published in The National Interest.