Each lawmaker is given one ticket to invite a guest to join them for the State of the Union. For U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), he invited Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Vanderhaden from the U.S. Coast Guard to highlight that the Coast Guard never stopped protecting the nation’s borders during the government shutdown, and all while going unpaid.
“Master Chief is the senior-most enlisted member of the Coast Guard,” DeFazio told The World prior to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union. “Obviously, the junior ranks of enlisted were hit hardest in the shutdown, people just starting their careers in the Coast Guard who don’t have a lot of savings, have families and aren’t getting paychecks.”
While the longest partial shutdown in the nation’s history drug on, which has ended for now, DeFazio spoke with Coast Guardsmen in Coos Bay and places like Seattle, Wash. In an effort to help get them paychecks, he introduced a bipartisan bill and got close to 180 cosponsors. But that isn’t enough to push it through.