Coalition of veteran and military groups demanding end to shutdown

A coalition of 33  organizations representing veterans and members of the military are to gather at the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning to demand an end to the government shutdown that members say is harming veterans and military families.

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“The shutdown has been devastating for the nation’s military readiness and for the veterans, service members, families and survivors in the uniformed services community,” said a statement from The Military Coalition, which represents among other groups the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars,  Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America,  and the National Military Family Association.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has warned that unless the shutdown ends soon, the department will run out of money and be unable  to issue disability and pension checks due to be sent Nov. 1. The VA has also reported that the shutdown has halted  progress on lowering the backlog of disability claims.

“Many services that military families count on daily are suspended,” the coalition said in its statement. “Veterans make up 27 percent of the federal workforce and don’t know when they will get to go back to work.”

The World War II Memorial has emerged as a favorite protest site from the start of the two-week-old shutdown, when barriers closing the site were pushed aside to allow visiting World War II veterans to see the memorial. On Sunday, hundreds of veterans tore down barricades from memorials and monuments and piled them in front of the White House.

Volunteers from Team Rubicon, a veteran support organization, spent Sunday cleaning up trash left uncollected owing to the shutdown.

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Marcia Davis · October 14, 2013

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