This week, Aniela Szymanski, Chief Policy Officer, gives an update on the looming government shutdown for November 17,2023.
No Government Shutdown Yet, What to Expect Next
By Aniela Szymanski, Chief Policy Officer
Mere hours before the government was set to shut down, Congress passed a 45-day Continuing Resolution on September 30, 2023. A day later, politics got ugly again when some members of Congress ousted the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, in retaliation for him basically NOT forcing a government shutdown. What that indicates is that, even though they passed a 45-day funding measure, Congress has no intention of playing nice from this point forward.
The Continuing Resolution keeps the government funded at the same levels as last fiscal year until November 17, 2023. If the funding bills do not pass Congress by November 17, we face another government shutdown. Between now and then, Congress has the opportunity to agree on a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Coast Guard Authorization Act. The Coast Guard Authorization Act, which has not even been voted out of the Congressional committee, is significantly behind in working its way through Congress compared to the NDAA, which has already passed both the House and Senate but just needs to be reconciled.
If Congress passes the NDAA before November 17, 2023, but does not pass the Coast Guard Authorization Act before then, the DoD will continue to get paid, but not the Coast Guard. This is certainly not a scenario members of the Coast Guard want to face again. In order to avoid this, CWOA has been advocating for years for the passage of the Pay our Coast Guard Act, but Congress has yet to pass that bill. Although, thanks to loud voices on Capitol Hill of CWOA members and leadership, Coast Guard pay was the subject of comments by many members of Congress during the threatened government shut down debates.
Senator Ted Cruz stated on September 21, just days before the funding deadline, “Coast Guard members are on patrol 365 days a year . . . Coast Guard members keep our citizens and our country safe. . . the Coast Guard must be paid—without question and without delay. . . . the bipartisan Pay Our Coast Guard Act, which would treat Coast Guardsmen the same as all other service members for purposes of pay and benefits if there’s a lapse in appropriations. If a continuing resolution is not passed, the prudent thing to do—the right thing to do—is to agree now that we will pay the Coast Guard.”
CWOA will continue to press Congress to ensure that Coast Guard members receive pay if the November 17 deadline for funding is not met, but the Coast Guard and family members should also continue making preparations for the possibility that there is a lapse or delay in pay. Many CWOA chapters have already been preparing to provide members and their families with free food, diapers, dinners, and other short-term measures. Those preparations should not stop until Congress fully funds the Coast Guard’s budget.
The views expressed in the articles in this publication are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizations for which they work, CWOAUSCG, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.