(CNN) - At Friday morning’s White House event on the issue of long term unemployment, President Obama will be introduced by a California man named Erick Varela who served as a combat infantryman in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, according to a White House official who shared Erick’s personal story with CNN.
When Erick, a skilled heavy equipment operator, left the Army in 2008 and returned home to Manteca, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the housing crisis was in full swing and he was unable to find work. He applied at fast food restaurants and in retail but couldn’t find a job. His financial situation became so dire that he and his wife, Katey, lived out of their car when they could no longer afford to pay their rent.
Updated 12:54 p.m., 12/18/2013
(CNN) – Sen. Patty Murray, co-crafter of the bipartisan budget agreement and member of the veterans affair committee, said Wednesday cuts to pension benefits for some military veterans under the spending plan was a part of a compromise to avoid billions in cuts to the defense industry.
"We had to look at how we could find compromises. There are things in this I like and there are things in this I don't like," the Senate Budget Committee chair and Democrat from Washington State said in an interview on CNN's "New Day."
(CNN) – Dozens of retired senior military veterans are signing onto Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun control group of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.
The new initiative, Veterans for Responsible Solutions, will support Giffords and Kelly's wider efforts by bringing to bear the experience of military veterans who've sworn to defend the Second Amendment and have themselves been well versed in the use of firearms.
(CNN) - Nearly a hundred veterans from several dozen military coalitions converged at the National World War II Memorial in Washington on Tuesday to protest the partial shutdown of the government that they say could put more than 5.5 million service members at risk of not receiving their monthly benefits by November 1.
Flanked by veterans from various wars, Garry Augustine, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, said from the podium: "Our message to the President and Congress (is), defaulting on not paying veteran's benefits is not an option. We are here to tell them it's time for the country to fulfill our promises to the men and women who served."FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) – Two groups were largely responsible for a hastily-arranged veterans rally Sunday on the National Mall, and one of them now accuses the other of "hijacking" the idea for the event and turning it into a political spectacle that grabbed the national spotlight.
Crowds of veterans and conservative activists overcame barriers at the World War II Memorial, where high-profile politicians used strong anti-Obama language and blasted the administration for closing national monuments and memorials during the partial government shutdown.
Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee is concentrating its government shutdown firepower against two of the top Democrats in Congress and three Senate Democrats who may face tough re-elections next year.
The RNC said Monday it's launching robocalls in the home states and districts of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chair of the rival Democratic National Committee, as well as Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.
Washington (CNN) – A military coalition including 33 of the nation’s leading veterans and uniformed services organizations on Tuesday will stage a major event in Washington to push for an end to the government shutdown.
Activists for veterans and the nation’s service members have warned the shutdown – especially as it approaches the end of its second week – has had a devastating impact on them and their families, and now they are stepping up their campaign to put political pressure to re-open the government.
(CNN) – Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and double-amputee, lambasted a witness during a congressional hearing Wednesday, accusing him of "gaming the system" for federal veterans benefits.
The witness, Braulio Castillo, had come under scrutiny from the House Oversight and Government Reform committee for allegedly claiming veteran disability status as a way to gain an advantage in contracting bids for the Internal Revenue Service.
White House (CNN) - Both the Obamas and the Bidens are setting new goals in their joint White House initiative to encourage companies to hire more veterans and military spouses into the workforce.
"If you can save a life on the battlefield then you can sure as heck save one in an ambulance, if you can oversee a convoy of equipment and track millions of dollars of assets then you can run a company supply chain or you can balance its books," President Obama said.
(CNN) – President Barack Obama says Americans who served abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan should always be able to rely on a robust system of support from the government.
In his speech Sunday at a solemn ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, Obama noted it was the first Veterans Day in 10 years that no Americans were serving in Iraq, and pointed to the diminishing U.S. presence in Afghanistan.