Coast Guard members struggling to get by without pay during shutdown

Retired Coast Guard speaks out about branch not receiving payment

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The parking lot at the New Orleans coast guard base was full Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 22), however, the men and women are reporting for duty free of charge.

As a retiree, Marcus Carlucci said he’s not planning on receiving his once-a-month check from the federal government. So now, his attention turned to those on active duty who depend on their incomes.

“I have a job and I’ll struggle through it," Carlucci said. “It’s not how we should be treating our military people.”

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not getting paid under the shutdown because it falls under the Department of Homeland Security and not the Department of Defense.

“You won’t hear a lot of men and women out here complaining. they’re going to go do their job,” Carlucci said

With the shutdown, Carlucci said the men and women who swore to serve the country are now forced to look for help.

“These are people who put their lives on the line for us every day and they’re standing in a food line,” Carlucci said.

But unrest towards the government shutdown is growing around the country, including the streets of New Orleans.

A group that represents federal employees across America staged this march down Canal Street Tuesday, ending in front of the federal courthouse, hoping people heard their voices.

Everett Kelley with the American Federation of Government Employees said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring awareness to the suffering the over month-long shutdown is causing.

“I will go across the globe if it means we can get closure to this situation these employees don’t deserve what they’re getting at this point,” Kelley said.

Carlucci said he doesn’t have any fear that the Coast Guard will continue to keep waterways and the rest of the country safe, but said knowing this is how the government repays them for their service is disheartening.

“To ask so much from someone and use them as a political tool," Carlucci said. “We actually have troops forward deployed in Iraq right now and they’re not being paid and that’s sad.”

There is a food pantry specifically for the families of Coast Guard members and government workers in Belle Chasse. They’re partnering with second harvest food bank and are still accepting donations, especially gift cards and diapers.

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