Coast Guard’s Shutdown Advice To Members: ‘Be A Mystery Shopper’

The Coast Guard, which is the only branch of the military directly affected by the partial government shutdown, is shelling out financial advice to its furloughed members as the White House and Democrats in Congress remain gridlocked over a $5 billion border wall.

The advice? Spend less, find a babysitting gig, host a garage sale or become a “mystery shopper.” The worst-case scenario was listed at the bottom of the five-page informational packet: “Bankruptcy is a last option.”

These suggestions were listed on a document titled “Managing Your Finances During a Furlough,” which was previously posted to the Coast Guard’s website. Officials removed the document Wednesday after The Washington Post, which first reported on it, asked about the financial advice.

Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, told the Post that it pulled the tip sheet because it didn’t “reflect the Coast Guard’s current efforts to support our workforce during this lapse in appropriations.”

Managing Furlough by on Scribd

Still, the document paints a bleak picture for U.S. service members who will not be paid as President Donald Trump and Democrats spar over the president’s $5.6 billion request for the border wall.

Unlike other branches of the military, which operate under the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard receives funding through Homeland Security, which is affected by the shutdown that began Dec. 22.

An estimated 42,000 Coast Guard members will be working without paychecks, while 6,000 more will be furloughed.

The Department of Homeland Security was able to secure final paychecks of 2018 for Coast Guard members, which went out Dec. 31. The status of their next paychecks, due Jan. 15, is uncertain.

On Friday, a spouse of a Coast Guard member told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was “going through a lot of stress” during the shutdown. She said she had considered returning her son’s Christmas gifts to meet looming financial demands.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress introduced a bill to allow the Coast Guard to get paid through the shutdown. The American Legion, a veterans support organization, has urged Congress to pass the so-called Pay Our Coast Guard Act.

“Just because a Washington flowchart structures the Coast Guard under Homeland Security does not mean they should not be paid,” Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said Monday, according to Military.com.

At 19 days as of Wednesday night, this partial shutdown is the second-longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

HuffPost readers: Are you affected by the government shutdown? Email us about it. If you’re willing to be interviewed, please provide a phone number.

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