‘We've Made the Sacrifices:' US Coast Guard Families Ask Congress to End Partial Government Shutdown

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not getting paid during the shutdown

While Coast Guard members worked without expecting paychecks to come on Friday, their loved ones headed to Capitol Hill to express the true financial burden of the shutdown.

The roughly 42,000 members of the U.S. Coast Guard fall under the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense, meaning they are the only branch of the military not getting paid during the shutdown.

Spouses and parents of Coast Guard members knocked on doors Tuesday, sharing stories of financial hardship and hoping to sway any lawmakers — or their staff members — who would hear them out.

"You can be hopeful, but then also be proactive, and that’s what we’re trying to do," Coast Guard spouse Michelle Alonso said.

Katie Morris' 19-year-old son Jeff Carey is in boot camp and doesn't have much savings to fall back on.

"What 19-year-old kid has a savings? He just went from high school to boot camp. So it's going to be on mom. I have to maybe work more hours to help him out," Morris said.

Jada Green's husband is active duty, and she works with the Coast Guard as a civilian employee. Neither is getting paid.

"It’s tough," she said.

With both her and her husband’s income frozen, she's cutting back and relying on community support.

Green said that, for the first time, she turned to a local food bank to help feed her four kids.

"I never imagined that I would have to do that, but that’s what it's come down to," she said.

Some, like Susan Bourassa and her husband, have savings to fall back on, but they still came out Tuesday to show support for younger Coast Guard members.

"I married my husband the day after boot camp — literally — so we’re here to just... represent that we know what it’s like to be through the thick and the thin," Bourassa said.

Despite having some savings, it's still unnerving when the paychecks stop coming in, Bourassa said.

"We’ve made the sacrifices, but we never thought we’d have to make the sacrifice without having a paycheck."

If the government cannot agree on a proposal to end the shutdown before Friday, more than 800,000 federal employees are set to miss their second paychecks.

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