Veterans groups to push to end government shutdown
October 12th, 2013
07:13 PM ET
9 years ago

Veterans groups to push to end government shutdown

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.

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The event will be held Tuesday morning at the National World War II Memorial, several sources familiar with it confirmed to CNN. Some of the major groups that will be represented include: The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Air Force Sergeants Association, National Military Family Association and Jewish War Veterans.

Officials from these groups say there is a lot of frustration and uncertainty as the shutdown continues, such as among veterans who receive disability and GI Bill benefits and survivors who rely on survivor benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs has said it would not be able to pay benefits if the government stayed closed through the end of month.

One of the approximately 3 million wounded veterans who are facing dire circumstances is Ryan Lamke. He told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr he had this message for the politicians about what he and his fellow veterans will face if their checks don’t arrive.

“It means that they may go broke. They may have that extra financial stress on an already stressed life. It could be, in worst case scenario, a suicide spike; emotional stability drops. I mean, we’re talking about a population of veterans that are not seeking out the mental health care they so desperately need.”

Lamke, who came home from Iraq in 2008 after seven IED attacks, was diagnosed with traumatic brain jury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although he went on to graduate from college, he is now unemployed, and his VA disability check is his only source of income. If the shutdown goes past Tuesday, he said he has been told the VA will not be able to make the payments scheduled to go out the first of November – when he has a lot of bills due.

When asked what that meant for him, he told Starr “I go broke. I go broke. It’s really that simple.”

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee earlier this week about the impact of the shutdown, telling Congress that on November 1, the department will not be able to pay all of the approximately 3.8 million beneficiaries who are expecting checks.

“I need the authorization, appropriations and a budget to be able to do that,” he said. “Let us get back to work. The sooner we do it the faster I get back up to full speed.”

Also impacted are the 435,000 veterans in the VA’s disability claims backlog who now will have to wait longer for their applications to be dealt with because the agency has stopped paying overtime to processors who were trying to cut the backlog.

The House has passed a bill to fund the VA as part of its strategy to finance the politically popular and necessary parts of the government in a piecemeal approach. The Senate has not voted on that bill because Democrats argue the whole government should be re-opened.

–CNN Producer Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this story.

Filed under: Government Shutdown • Veterans
soundoff (408 Responses)
  1. Zoomie

    Blame it on the liberals you Tards. This all started to defund Obamacare a legal government program approved by the supreme court. If the Repukes get their way you will see cuts to Social Security and Medicare both programs seniors depend on.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Anonymous

    I'm not voting for one single incumbent in the next election. THROW THE BUMS OUT! ALL OF THEM!!!

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. joydfanning

    Hey boo buns speaking as a veteran you need to shush it because come the 1st of November if the goverment is still shutdown veterans will not get their disability, gi bill payments etc. Active duty and reservists are still getting paid because Obama did initiate an executive order to make that happen. Research before you start typing.

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. nonyabidnes2

    When people of first signed up to protect this country, they essentially gave the government a blank check. Basically up to and including their death. As for me, a two tour Nam vet, I spilled blood in Vietnam. Now I am facing the possibility of not receiving my comp check next month. We can't afford to plan a vacation or anything else, we live (like most American's) month to month. This is Bravo Sierra!!! What has congress done to uphold and defend the constitution? We were told the government would take care of us. If this is "taking care of us", I'd rather not be art of that. This is a bunch of Charlie Romeo Alpha Papa.

    October 13, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Davo

    Whatever causes anyone to come to DC and rent a hotel room for whatever or otherwise.... I'm dyin' Dudes.

    October 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Peter Q Wolfe

    I have to dcorrect Manuel cause Clinton's administration warned the transitional President and Chief Bush 43 on Al Qaeda as a possible terrorist threat to the U.S. Time to get your facts straight that is reality not partisan as you stated. Nobody lives there political views in reality like conservatives don't manage finances responsibily nor do democrats accept or give to charity that much. Irony that is irony of all things but keep blaming Obama who increased VA benefits and is attempting to fix the back log issue.

    October 13, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. JH

    Funny thing is, if Obama would just agree to a 1 year waiver, like he gave big business, this could all end, but the man-child is acting like a spoiled brat in a candy shop who locks himself in the restroom until mommy agrees to let him have the candy he wants.

    October 13, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Jill-IN

    Boehner and his radical right congressmen who represent a very small portion of the U.S people called for this shutdown. President Obama did not ask for or call for a shutdown and indeed, he cannot sign anything to end it. It is up to John Boehner to summon the guts and leadership to stand up to the far right radicals and tell them they do not own the GOP and that he will put the vote on the floor for a clean resolution to raise the government's payment ceiling to pay bills as they come due. These are for bills that Congress already passed and incurred. Boehner knows this and the fact that he has led this Congress dismally means he has to go.

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Bob

    The racists and teahadists from the Gang Of Pukes keep trying to hold the country hostage and then telling the veterans, many of who were already exposed to far too much white supremacist rhetoric that infiltrated our armed forces through the Racist South, that "it's the n____-in-chief's fault."

    I have sympathy for the veterans, but the fact remains the GOP of today is the New KKK.

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. NameCAB

    The million veteran march is not sponsored by the vfw, american legion, or the iava. The groups involved in the march today are only interested in blasting president obama and not dealing with the real issues. The groups on tuesday are for veterans in the big picture.

    October 13, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. jeff

    Money by threat is also called robery, actually it's not even money, it is credit, bad credit at that. Unless this outlandish spending is stopped, the crisis will never end.

    October 13, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Humbrrto

    They shut down government services but they'll all get back pay anyway.

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Mike Johnson

    I see conservative act like children. The idea that actions come with consequences and if you had acted like adults their would have seen no closures is beyond conservatives cognitive abilities. It the childish minds of conservatives its always other people's faults. They have no control over their behavior. We can't expect decency of civility from conservatives. We can expect threats and attempts to intimidate. From conservatives don't get their way they will whine, pout and through tantrums.

    October 13, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Silvia Reyes

    This situation makes me feel like a slave of this Government. Forcing us to work without pay while accruing additional expenses. As a single mother of two children, I can only do so much and for a limited time. It appears that our Government officials are more concern about making their point then worrying about the outcome of their actions.
    Our Military men and women are serving along with their families, they were promised a pay check, at least one meal a day, education benefits and Veterans benefits for them and their families. You (Government) cannot and should not hesitate in granting those benefits to them. Under any circumstances shall they be asked to wait on a check because the Federal Government has some unfinished and unpaid businesses.

    I feel ashamed by the Governments actions and I have lost my desire to vote as it appears like in the US a vote has lost it's power.

    I am great full to see that our Veterans will be marching on Tuesday and I hope that your actions and sacrifices have not been in vein.

    To our active duty members and their family, thank you for everything you do. I don't know how our Government dares ask you to sacrifice some more.

    To all, Thank you for your service.

    Silvia Reyes, RI

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Sol

    What dies it cost to make these signs and patrol these areas enforcing the shutdown order ?

    October 13, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Humbrrto

    What's needed is a class action lawsuit to hold the individuals in Congress for the injury caused by their malfeasance to the citizens of the USA.

    October 13, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Kim

    Obama didn't shut down the memorials, the radical tea baggers did. As a retired military officer I couldn't care less about the memorials. I vol with disabled vets, getting them to appointments, picking up meds, and delivering meals. If they don't get their checks it will be truly terrible for them.

    October 13, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Get rid of the Tea Party

    Vets like my father need their support they receive from the govt. I blame the super right wing for this whole mess. They are willing to shut down the govt. for the own agenda. Vote them out people.

    October 13, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. duh

    wait till the IOU's start being issued. entitlement issues for government workers and elected officials

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Charlie

    I'm sick and tired of hearing all the Dunn a carts blaming house speaker boehner for not allowing a vote when Harry Reid in the senate is doing the exact same thing on his side and he's clearly bowing to the presidents will and ALL those in government are against the American people and everyone of them should be removed from office but no all the ignorant party blind voters will once again vote them all right back in come election time! The American people need to wake up and quit being so damn stupid and party loyal neither party cares about the average person only about their party

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. ArchLabor

    It's painfully obvious, to most, that a Tea Party run GOP is to blame for this shutdown. All Speaker Boehner needs to do is allow the House to vote. He won't. Every move this Tea Party makes seems designed to hurt someone weaker than them. Not very Christian.

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Amanda Krebs

    By these people being selfish, I'll lose everything:
    1) my home
    2) my schooling ( one term to go till I'd get my bachelor degree)
    3) my vehicle
    4) my meds that help me cope with everyday life.
    5) my companion pet, won't be able to afford to feed him.
    6) and lastly, my life, because without my meds, Or my companion I don't cope with life too well.
    So thanks to the government and it's selfishness, I know now the date of my death, and that takes everything I've worked for and throws it out the window.
    Thank you Obama for showing us whose really important..
    Can't wait till your gone.

    October 13, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. asknod

    So when are they going to shut down the WH kitchen and send the cooks home? No money for SSI and Vets? How about no money for the chowderheads who also aren't working? Why does this always have to come down to Bush or Obama being the bad guy? Or Congress for that matter? Fat cat govt. is the problem. The shutdown allows them to see what a hash they've made of it. The longer it goes on, the better chance that people will get so pissed off they'll throw the lot out. Give the TEA party their due. They shined the flashlight on waste, fraud and stupidity-something the Ds and Rs have been engaging in since 1789 and hiding. Sometimes you have to take a time out and step back. As RJ above says, how much did they spend to shut down open,, static monuments and parks? And why? To inflict inconvenience on all of us so we'd get mad at the House. How childish. I say let it fester. That will enervate all of you to think twice before pulling the vote lever next year.Contrary to popular belief, we get what we vote for. How's all that Hope and Change panning out? How about another heaping helping of Fast and Furious transparency with a side of IRS shenanigans?

    October 13, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Tom

    How dare these vets fight for our freedom and then demand o-bozo negotiate. They must all be part of the evil tea party.

    October 13, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Former USAF SSgt

    Vote out everyone involved in this childish tantrum sponsored by the Tea Party. Mainstream Republicans are too afraid of the extremists in their own party. Boehner needs to grow a pair and do what's right for Everyone in our wonderful nation. The House agreed on and passed the budget – how can they now not fund it? Because they don't give a Damn about veterans, the working class, or the poor! They represent the 1%, and no one else.

    I was a Republican when I served under Reagan; I can now see that the Republican Party does not represent the interests of most Americans – they won't stop until they completely destroy the middle class.

    October 13, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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