Shore congressman introduces bill to fund Coast Guard during government shutdown

(U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer Patrick D. Kelley)

(U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer Patrick D. Kelley)

A freshman Shore congressman has introduced a bill that will fund the U.S. Coast Guard during the ongoing federal government shutdown.

The legislation proposed by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat representing most of South Jersey and the southern half of the state’s coastal areas, would provide pay to Coast Guard personnel and contractors.

“It is unacceptable for the men and women who protect us to be treated like second class citizens over partisan bickering,” he said in a statement. “We need to re-open our government. This is shameful.”

Unlike the other military branches that fall under the Department of Defense, the 42,000 active duty Coast Guard personnel are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security.

They received one paycheck after the shutdown began on Dec. 22 but are at risk of not receiving additional pay, including on Jan. 15.

More than 1,500 Coast Guard personnel in New Jersey are impacted by the shutdown.

Van Drew is a resident of Cape May County, the home of Training Center Cape May, the fifth largest Coast Guard base and a training site for recruits.

His office says the congressman will also offer legislation to fund the Federal Aviation Administration.

The William J. Hughes Technical Center, the scientific test base for the Federal Aviation Administration, is located at the Atlantic City International Airport within Van Drew’s district.

Van Drew lauded the Seaville Fire Company and Wildwood American Legion Post 184 for accepting donations of non-perishable foods, diapers, baby food, and money to help aid the employees of the nearby Coast Guard base and FAA center.

Anyone interested in providing donations can do so by visiting the fire company at 36 Route 50 in Seaville and the American Legion at 4200 Atlantic Avenue in Wildwood.

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