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. Tampa Tim

    The party of No has been planning this shut down for over a year. They have no solutions, but their followers are truly ignorant of the role of government.

    October 13, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Manuel – Had Bush not ignored Clinton's warnings and the warnings in August report, there might not have been a 9-11.

    October 13, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Secession Solution

    Let's put the blame where it belongs. THIS is the government YOU fought for. Next time you might want to think things through a little better.

    October 13, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Patroy

    Obama doesn't care if veterans suffer. He WANTS you to suffer. He could have had the bill signed to fund veteran affairs just like harry read could have funded the NIH but, "Why would we do that?" says Harry.

    October 13, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Farrok

    These Men and Women fought to protect America and this is their reward? As an American Citizen I am ashamed of this. This is poison. The Men and Women who fight America's battles will begin to question the stability of the American Government and if their families will be taken care of if they die in battle. That alone may be a factor in future battles. Who wants to die or be shot up when the government just throws you away and tells your widow to get lost?

    They have made a serious error is this one................

    October 13, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. truth is

    Good luck with that...the republicans only care about one thing....killing the affordable health care act and not angering their backwards thinking crazy tea party members. They would let the country burn first before they use the C word (compromise).

    Funny how they want the dems to talk deal...the reality is, the republicans offer nothing and ask for the moon. GL with that, the act is LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL. So why is the government shut down again? Oh that's right the republican party think acting like a 2 year old that doesn't get their way is the solution to everything

    October 13, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. ItSoNlYmE

    To those who pin this on the Democrats – The senate has asked the house GOP 21 times (TWENTY-ONE TIMES) to come to talk about a budget. They have never come once. Not once. The GOP's stated intention is not to govern, it is to prevent President Obama from achieving anything. This "crisis" is not the fault of the Democrats or the President. It did not need to happen, and it's only happened because the GOP and specifically the tea party caucus thought they could gain some political points by doing it. The fact that there are still far right fringe members of the GOP caucus saying that a default would be "no big deal" only points up the fact that they don't live in the real world and are more than willing to gamble with the economic well being of every single person in America, and a large number of them elsewhere in the world. This is 100% a GOP engineered problem, and now that they've figured out that they don't seem likely to get anything out of it because the President has said "no" and meant it, they're running scared. The ONLY, and I mean the **ONLY** reason John Boehner will not bring a clean CR to a floor vote is because he knows it will pass. And if it passes, the tea party and the rest of the far right will force him from power. So at its heart, the crisis hinges on John Boehner's personal ego and lust for power.

    October 13, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Evelyn Connaway

    Since the President is Commander-in-Chief of our Military, let's ask him to order a raid on the republican congress who have become terrorist against our own country and remove all of them to that piece of land we lease from Cuba, then give the land back to Cuba and let Cuba hold them hostage. In fact, we also need to raid and pickup the outside groups that have been funneling money to all politicians to do their bidding and send them along with the others. We need to start fighting fire with fire. We have used our military to fight stupid wars in foreign countries – it's time for our military to help the president – help our military veterans, families and the rest of the citizens, that part of congress does not want to help – within our own borders of the United States of America. Eliminate all of congress, then, hire – not elect 2 decent people from each state – one man and one woman, that wants to work for the good of the people of their state – no political ideology – just common decency, honesty and ethics and a belief of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is time to re-write the Constitution of the United States , the last one has been used, abused and corrupted!

    October 13, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Chris

    Now we know that Obama really is trying to destroy America! This Obamacare crap could be the final straw when you shut down everything to implement something that nobody wants. The individuals costs are too high, too many hands in the pot, and when the government is involved it's going to cost more. Get rid of Obama and ObamaCOST.

    October 13, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Hawk in Texas

    People like Tom and Richard Long posting on here are nothing but tea party trolls. they care nothing for veterans or anyone else. they are allways posting on all the stories downing the president for their tea party beliefs. and they are not the only ones doing this.

    October 13, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. brian

    @Phillip – Those democrats and "Rino's" as you call them are the only ones that want to continue paying benefits to veterans. You're tea party friends think you should go out and get a job and quit freeloading off the government. So tell me again who really cares about veterans?

    October 13, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. jamie

    That is their plan. To cause pain and suffering on the American public so they in turn will start public pressure on those whom are not doing there job. This is outrageous. WE ARE BEING PLAYED JUST LIKE PAWNS PEOPLE.

    October 13, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Fulano

    Senator Cruz. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

    October 13, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. BC

    If you are a veteran and think that the unnecessary conditions the GOP put on funding the government is justifiable and blame Obama when he'd agree to a continuing resolution to open the government without any conditions whatsoever, then you DESERVE to suffer the consequences of the shutdown.

    October 13, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. morriekurt

    This is what no gov looks like. T party want no gov. And will do what ever it to destroy it.

    October 13, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. NameFrank Deery

    Obama and Reid need to compromise with Republicans and get this done. Republicans
    Are being blamed for it, but The President and his minions are being just as bull- headed, and Presidents should rise above that. Obama doesn't.

    October 13, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Hawk in Texas

    You people posting on here that the closings were all Obamas fault are just showing that you are tea party trolls. the president closed nothing. only congress can shut down the goverment and shut down every thing else. not Obama. and i will bet that not one of you ever served in the service. like all the tea party congressmen that got deferments. and Cheney got what 5 of them and bush 2 never showed up for the air national guard that daddy got him into so he would not have to go to nam.

    October 13, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. L

    Why did these veterans plan on someone else paying for their bills ?

    Answer : Because they are idiots.

    October 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. oldleftcoastdude

    I would like to know what percentage of the members of all these groups are/were against Obamacare and support (ed) the Tea Party. The chickens are coming home to roost, boys, and you have no one to blame but yourselves for being Johnny-one-notes in your zeal to be against anything our mixed race president proposes.

    October 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. dale

    obama was never qualified to be president, and ever giving him advice......progressives. nobody in office right now will get my vote

    October 13, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. Screamin Eagle

    Politicians only believe veterans and military personal are tools. A bunch of suckers that bought the line of patriotism to go fight,while the politicians did their corporate overlord's bidding. One must be truly naive to think that a country like ours could form and truly have all treated as equals. In every society there has been and always will be a ruling class..even in Soviet Russia there was. Pawns in a game..nothing more.

    October 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. Tony Pow

    Shutdown is a political problem that could be fixed next week. Check out the sampler of Debunk the Myths in Investing (last day free from amazon).

    October 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  23. QZ

    Do they know MacArthur?

    October 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. sassafras

    @Phillip. If he doesn't care, why does he keep trying to reopen the government while Boehner and his crowd keep trying to pick people off. They shut this government down. What did they honestly think would happen when they did that?

    October 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. DisabledVeteranin Texas

    Ted Cruz and almost every lawmaker on both sides spit in the face for disabled Veterans and say they are not worth any disability payments. Paul Ryan wants to go as far as lowering benefits. The people in Washington are a poor excuse of Americans and hopefully ones who care will be elected in 2014

    October 13, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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