For Coast Guard family stationed overseas, shutdown is doubly stressful

Julia LeDoux
January 09, 2019 - 4:18 pm

Photo supplied by Kasey Catalioto


Not all Coast Guard families are stationed in the CONUS, which just increases their anxiety over the very real possibility of not getting paid on Jan. 15.

Coast Guard spouse Kasey Catalioto, her husband Christopher, a 12-year Coast Guard enlistee and their children live in the Bahamas.

“Everyone’s solution for the shutdown seems to be `go to WIC, do a side job,’” she said. “What they do not realize that for those of us abroad, there are no resources.”

The federal government entered into a partial shutdown Dec. 22 as Congress and President Donald Trump remain at odds over Trump’s request from $5 billion in funding to build a wall along the country’s southern border. 

The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and is among the agencies that are not being funded during the partial shutdown. The Army, Navy and Air Force are being funded while the government is shuttered because they fall under the Department of Defense. 

Catalioto said there is no American base on the island where they live. That means no commissary and other staples of military life that can be found and easily accessed when living stateside.

RELATED: Food banks are opening near Coast Guard bases for families caught in the government shutdown.

“We do not even have a child care subsidy like what would have been provided in the US,” she said.

Catalioto has a part-time job working for the US government, but faces being furloughed when funding for the agency she works for runs out too.

“The very real reality is that this is a hardship post,” she said. “There are added costs associated with living here. It’s not a picture perfect postcard like everyone thinks.”

Milk can cost as much as $8 a gallon, Catalioto said. Other staples are just as expensive.

A bill to ensure that the Coast Guard would be paid has was introduced in the Senate, but no action has yet been taken on it. Senate Bill 21, known as the Pay Our Coast Guard Bill, was introduced Jan. 3 by Sen. John Thune (R-SD).  The bill would fund the Coast Guard’s active duty, retiree and civilian payroll despite the ongoing shutdown if passed by Congress. It remains uncertain if the 42,000 people on the Coast Guard’s payroll will receive their checks as scheduled on Jan. 15.

RELATED: Any bills to help fund the Coast Guard are threatened by the standoff


Photo supplied by Kasey Catalioto


“I do love my job and my husband loves his work,” Catalioto said. “We just want to be paid for it.”

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