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. Thomas

    History is repeating itself. After WWI veterans protested in Washington and were confronted by US Troops and removed. Obama is similar to Herbert Hoover. Veterans are damn right to protest. During war time waivers are given so the military can supply enough troops for war time. Then after conflicts and wars are drawn down they are treated like crap.


    You are so misinformed , The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki. A MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS and the President has done more for Veterans then the GW Bush administration ever did.

    Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."

    Rumsfeld was furious with White when the Army secretary agreed with Shinseki.

    October 13, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. reality

    Hopefully these military groups will be able to help our President defend our nation against the Tea Party Traitors.

    October 13, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Jean Sartre

    I think this shutdown very clearly exposes the TP for the LIARS and TRAITORS that they are. They say we have too much government, no one needs government. We are paying too much in taxes for a government that we do not need. Well, look around, read, open you ears and listen. If anything should give you cretins reason to think and pause, the Republican shutdown should.

    The government touches almost every facet of the lives of all Americans, and you will be hearing from more of them as this shutdown and debt ceiling continue. Of course, you TRAITORS want all the benefits coming from the government, you just do not want to pay for any of them!

    Semper FI!

    October 13, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Tim

    As a veteran the one thing we lack in Washington is leadership. And that includes all of them. Obama, Reid and Boehner. There all pathetic. Lets also get rid of the media. There more pathetic than the politicians.

    October 13, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Deb Ed

    Title to the article and content is WRONG. They ARE NOT marching to end the shutdown. If CNN and other media had gotten off their behinds and went down to where this is, they would KNOW, it is NOT to march to end the shutdown. FALSE MEDIA. Again, the media is picking and choosing only what they want you to hear.

    October 13, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. davecu

    To RJ
    This fiasco has been designed, by the politicians in power, to do the most damage to Joe SixPack while casting blame on the other party. For shame! A pox on BOTH your houses.
    They forget that they 'serve' at our pleasure. I'm not very please right now.
    Time to flush the institution and start again.
    Even God had a reset button. 40 days and 40 nights.

    October 13, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. winchester74

    the Fox News idiots will blame Obama – everyone else in the world understands that the Tea Party Taliban is responsible for holding our economy hostage until their demands are met – which includes cutting Social Security, healthcare, VA benefits, etc. etc. If you are not a millionaire – they don't care about you.

    October 13, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. A. Person

    God, look at all the attention seeking party loyalists. Keep blaming the opposing group while those not brown nosing try to fix the problem. To those of you not politically dog leashed to the "problem parties", I thank you and urge you to support our veterans in anyway you can. Care for yourself and your country. WE will be the upholders of America today! VLR!

    October 13, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Smeeveo

    I am a court-appointed guardian of more than 2 dozen disabled veterans. If the monthly benefits checks do not drop into my guys' bank accounts on Nov. 1st, I will make sure as many of my people as possible camp out in our Republican congresspeople's offices until the money starts flowing again. This week I am sending our Florida Republican congressmen's phone numbers to my wards, their landlords, care facility managers, home health caregivers and creditors, so they can pressure the House into getting government working again.

    October 13, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. mungo

    My father died from the wounds he received fighting the Nazis.
    It would break his heart to see the New Nazi party ( Tea party) using the memorial to our war hero's as a propaganda prop in their treasonous and cowardly attack on America.

    October 13, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. NameGoose

    Obama is the blame. Stop blaming Bush. Ever since Obama has been in office the deficit has sky rocketed. Obama is in his second term in office. He has done nothing to help the deficit.
    As for the veterans, the republicans have a bill that would allow the VA to be funded so veterans money and benifits would not be cut off on Nov. 1rst. It's the democrats who refuse to sign & pass the bill. Again, Obama needs to go...he should of never been President. I am sick & tired of Obama blaming Bush. Bush has been long gone. Obama has been in office long enough to make some kind of positive impact on our deficit. Hell, he has made it ten times worse than George Bush ever did. As for the military and the veterans, at least George Bush showed them respect on all levels. Obama has shown the military and it's veterans NO respect at all on all levels. Americans veterans should come first in this country. Why, because they have served and paid their dues to this country. What Obama should be doing is cutting off the money & free bees to all the lazy ass freeloaders who don't know what work is. The other countries are laughing at us because of Obama. Obama has divided are country and brought are great country down to zero!

    October 13, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. steve

    I wonder how many of the vets voted for Tea Party candidates? The chickens have come home to roost for them.

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. T

    .......FIX greedy awful Republicans.................

    October 13, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. grace

    Wait you can't blame Obama for this you just can't. Obama is always right and needs to get his own way because he's the president. Blame the Teathuglicans all you want but Obama cares about you very much and you're hurting his feelings right now, besides if you're blaming anything on Obama you obviously a ignorant racist, he may just be the best president we've ever had and our media does a excellent job portraying such. Well done CNN and MSNBC down with FOX!!!

    October 13, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Grams09

    Well, the government had to send all that money to PBS don't you know.

    October 13, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. ImvotingforHillary

    I'm a disabled vet and I am sorry I served this country.

    October 13, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Lawless4U

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything that Former USAF SSgt posted.

    You are right on the money.

    October 13, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. guest

    thanks Thomas, I am glad I am not the only one seeing history repeat itself from WW1 vets to today. I will say it is not as bad of a treatment in the days of post Vietnam. Also thanks on recognizing the Pentagons fault and all these Military Generals (which are now so sheltered they don't know what is going on) on our strategy in National Security. If anything that the history of "Mission Accomplished" taught us is that the emperor indeed wears no clothes and many people are more than happy to complement him on it.

    October 13, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Betty Jo Young

    Why is the media not all over Washington for these protest? You should be giving full support to our people!

    October 13, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. sudan

    Welcome to the worm hole created by the REP. Party to destoy America. Karma

    October 13, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. vance

    alas I won't be anywhere close to DC on this day, if I was I would be there with my fellow veterans. I would like to say that seeing our veterans will get those methane breathing mutants in dc to listen, but alas I don't hold out the most hope in that regard.

    October 13, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Brian

    Seriously do not pin this on the President because, Republicans dealt a completely unnecessary card, and screwed us along with hundreds of thousands of other people. This is crazy I read the comment by Nicole or whoever that is and I am sure there are Veterans with that mind thought. But seriously the Republicans are using us as pawns to gain some type of traction in the foolish game to get rid of things that THEY do not agree with. I am a 9 year vet my family are at risk because of these antics so, if you want to blame Democrats over something at this moment do not use your Veteran label to do so. If the Democrats went through all the legal channels things have been judicated then we as a country need to move on, if there is a time and a place to try and get rid of legislation this is not it. They (Republicans) need to get their act together and bite the bullet for putting themselves on a plank.

    October 13, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Mark P

    The Tea Party and many other Republican stalwarts refer to citizens who get checks from the federal government as "moochers"; I would presume, then, that the term encompasses military veterans as well?

    October 13, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Tom

    Republicans shut down the Government. Then when the pain starting showing up, the repubs started to selectively put out the fire by trying to open this sgment or that segment. Well how about all the other segments, aren't they important/ The bottom line is get the government open and raise the debt limt. Then sit down and intelligently work the deficit. Ahmen end of story.

    October 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. NameBrett

    Man i hope Obama just defers Obamacare for a year and gets these people there life back.

    October 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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