CAPE MAY, NJ— New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy met with families at a U.S. Coast Guard Base in Cape May Thursday where almost 500 service members are stationed and serving without pay.
“We’ve got to get our federal government open and I plead with the president to do that,” Murphy said. “These folks are in a real financial vice and yet they go in and serve our country.”
The Coast Guard is charged with protecting America’s shores against drug smuggling and illegal immigration, among other areas.
Over 40,000 men and women in uniform and over 8,000 civilian forces just missed their second paycheck.
This prompted a rebuke from the Guard’s top admiral, who posted a video on social media.
“Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through the day,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
While the majority of the military falls under the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is impacted by this shutdown.
“They’re really suffering,” said Murphy. “Even on a good day, they’ve got a pantry here because the first, you know, the youngest classes of enlistees are getting wages that are, you know, have them at the edge of the poverty line.”