SC congressman announces bill to pay Coast Guard members during shutdown

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Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., walks to a closed Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (WCBD) – South Carolina Congressman Joe Cunningham announced he has co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to pay U.S. Coast Guard members during the government shutdown.

The announcement came from his Washington office just after lunchtime Monday.

According to a press release, the bipartisan legislation called the “Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2019,” would ensure active and reserve the United States Coast Guard members were paid during the duration of the government shutdown.

It would also provide backpay for furloughed Coast Guard civilian employees, as well as for Coast Guard military members, civilians, and contractors who provided services during the lapse in appropriations.

“The brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our coastlines should never bear the burden of political dysfunction,” Cunningham said.

Currently, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the U.S. military not paid for their critical and continuing operations.

On Cunningham’s first day in office, he voted on a bipartisan series of bills to reopen the government.

“On my very first day in Congress, the House passed a series of bills to reopen the government with bipartisan support. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bipartisan legislation, so we can reopen the government and get to work on the many urgent problems we were elected to solve,” he said.

This shutdown is now the longest in American history.

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