MIAMI - Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are co-sponsors of a bill that would pay all U.S. Coast Guard members during the partial government shutdown.
S.B. 21 calls on Congress to make continuing appropriations for Coast Guard pay as the shutdown stretches on, nearing a month.
The bipartisan bill, known as the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, was introduced Jan. 3 by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. It was co-sponsored by Republicans Rubio on Jan. 8 and Scott on Tuesday.
"Our men and women risk their lives every day to protect our freedom and our way of life," Scott said in a statement Wednesday. "Congress has failed to pass a budget and keep government funded. The men and women of our Coast Guard shouldn't be punished for the dysfunction of Washington."
Scott's office said there are more than 4,000 active-duty Coast Guard members in Florida affected by the shutdown.
The Coast Guard is a military service, but because it falls under the Department of Homeland Security, it is not being funded. The Coast Guard made a one-time emergency payment to its service members Dec. 31, but that quick fix did not extend to the Jan. 15 pay period.
"To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our nation's history that service members in a U.S. armed force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations," Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said in a statement.
The Coast Guard remains the only military branch working without pay during the shutdown.
A similar bill was introduced Jan. 8 in the House.
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