Rather than focusing on monument closures, Republican lawmakers should focus on the far more harmful effects of a government shutdown like the potential delay of benefits to 3.6 million veterans.
Many media outlets and Republican lawmakers have spent the past two days lauding the actions of a Mississippi veterans group which bypassed the barricades surrounding the shuttered World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, arguing that our nation’s heroes should not be preventing from honoring fallen comrades during a government shutdown.
In fact, several Tea Party lawmakers including Reps. Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Louie Gohmert have been glad-handing veterans at the memorial and decrying its closure, seemingly unaware that their own ideological rigidity is chiefly responsible for the memorial’s closing in the first place.
Rather than focusing on monument closures, lawmakers would be wise to focus on the far more harmful effects of the shutdown, such as the potential delay of benefits to 3.6 million veterans.
Politico reports that the shutdown could lead to 20,000 claims processors at the Department of Veterans Affairs being furloughed which will add to the already huge backlog of claims yet to be processed by the department.
The shutdown will also hurt the department’s efforts to care for the more than 62,000 veterans who are homeless on any given night.
Of course veterans should be able to pay their respects at the nation’s national monuments, but cheap political stunts won’t make that a reality.
The quickest way to help veterans receive pension payments and disability claims (and visit re-opened national monuments) is for these same House Republicans to drop the ideological obsession with defunding the Affordable Care Act and pass a clean CR.