An estimated 42,000 active duty United States Coast Guard members will likely not see a paycheck this month due to the partial government shutdown. The stalemate and uncertainty is affecting thousands of families including the Broadways who live on Cape Cod.
Amber Broadway’s husband, a Coast Guardsman of 14 years, is stationed at the base in Boston. She cannot speak for him or the Coast Guard but can speak about how the shutdown is impacting her family, including their two teenage sons. NBC10 Boston sat down with her at Bobby Byrne’s restaurant in Sandwich on Thursday.
“We’re having to plan like we can’t provide for our families,” Broadway said. “How I’m going to keep things normal at home, how I’m going to make sure we have food? It’s disheartening.”
As part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that will not be paid during the shutdown. They likely will not see that pay until the shutdown is over barring a legislative miracle. Their last paycheck came on New Year’s eve after the Coast Guard announced it had found enough money to pay members one more time.
“We’re just kind of being still and quiet and waiting,” Broadway said. “My greatest fear is what are we going to do?”
The Broadways live on Joint Base Cape Cod and are thankful for the food pantry set up by the Military Support Foundation. In anticipation of the needs during the shutdown, the foundation opened another distribution location at the base in Boston this week. The organization is actively seeking donations to keep up with the demand.
Broadway does have a job, but said supporting her family on just her salary will be difficult over time. She said her sons have offered to forgo birthday presents and set up a hot chocolate stand to raise money. She told them it was not necessary.
“That’s really hard to hear as a mom,” Broadway said.
She did read the tip sheet posted online by the Coast Guard Support program suggesting members have garage sales and do side jobs like babysitting to get by during the shutdown. It was taken down after the Coast Guard said it did not reflect its efforts to support its workforce during the lapse.
Broadway said she appreciates any advice, but it is far from enough.
“This isn’t going to be solved by us having a garage sale and we’re not going to pay the car note by mowing someone’s lawn,” Broadway said.
She said she is holding out hope that a resolution will happen and the shutdown will be over soon.
“It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on,” Broadway said. “This is about providing salaries for the people who are serving the country.”