A Michigan restaurant owner is offering free food to members of the Coast Guard during the government shutdown, claiming “[lawmakers] don’t even think about these people” affected by the shutdown.
"They have car payments now, they have house payments now, they have to pay for their kids' braces now," said Joe Durm, the owner of Java Joe’s Café, in a statement to WPBN. “This is what irritates me to no end.”
Java Joe’s, which is located in St. Ignace, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, first announced the policy on Facebook Thursday, after becoming aware that Coast Guard members would be affected, unlike other branches of the military.
“Good evening Saint Ignace,” the message began. “Java Joe just realized the Coast Guard is not being paid during this government shutdown therefore Java Joe’s will give any member of the Coast Guard a free breakfast.”
The decision soon earned praise from customers on Facebook, as well as some claiming to be Coast Guardsmen themselves.
“Kudos to Java Joes!” wrote one commenter. “As a reserve in the US Coast Guard, I vow to frequent (as a paying customer, of course) your business as much as possible if I am awarded my transfer to Station St Ignace!”
“We were station[ed] up in St. Ignace 10 years ago,” said another. “We are still in the Coast Guard and want to thank you.”
“You are awesome!!! Thank you for recognizing our USCG!” added a woman claiming to have two sons and a daughter-in-law in the Coast Guard.
“[It’s] the least I can do,” Java Joe’s Café wrote in response to the messages.
Despite the shutdown, the U.S. Coast Guard will be able to issue employees a one-time paycheck to cover December wages on Dec. 31, although forthcoming paychecks will be guaranteed, per a blog post on Coast Guard All Hands that was shared Friday by the U.S. Coast Guard’s official Twitter page.
The U.S. Coast Guard directed followers to the blog post for additional questions regarding wages during the shutdown.
The partial shutdown, which took effect on midnight Dec. 22, has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors to stay home or work without pay.
The decision to shutter the government came following an impasse over a spending bill – particularly in regards to funding for border security – with President Trump blaming Democratic lawmakers for the move, despite earlier remarking in an Oval Office meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer that he would "take the mantle" for a shutdown.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Alex Papas contributed to this report.