The U.S. government has re-started sending checks to the families of fallen soldiers. President Obama signed legislation into law late Thursday that will resume death benefits to the military families in mourning. But there are still more than 5 million veterans who are reliant on pensions and disability payments from the federal government, and those checks could be at risk as the shutdown continues.
“It shows the widespread, devastating impact that the shutdown is having on the veterans and military community,” Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq & Afghanistan Vets of America said on Andrea Mitchell Reports Friday. “Also, about 25% of all federal workers are veterans. So they work at the Department of Defense, they work at the Department of Education, they work at the DEA. Often when they come home, they go back to work at the government. The scope of this is really unprecedented.”
Already, the Department of Veterans Affairs has closed dozens of regional offices. In an extended shutdown, 13,000 of their workers will be furloughed, and $6 billion in monthly checks will stop for 5.2 million veterans.
“Our community is just under tremendous stress,” Rieckhoff said. “This is shameful. I don’t understand why Washington can’t get this together.”
Watch the full report from Andrea Mitchell in the video player above.