Meanwhile, away from the glare of cameras, many Gold Star widows and Veterans wondered if they would be able to keep a roof over their heads, as the pensions they had EARNED were threatened by the selective shutdown by the gold-plated-earnings of the peoples' representatives continue without pause. As the fat cats in DC enjoyed their uninterrupted perks, Gold Stars and Veterans faced the possibility of being unable to feed their kids.
NOW they need your help. I am asking you to call, write, your elected politicians and demand they act NOW to ensure that our most precious Americans NEVER have to face such uncertainty again.
Deborah Iverson May is a Gold Star Widow, and her eloquent appeal is ALL you need to know to get off your arses and demand your politicians BE accountable. Read on:
You can send messages to your lawmakers easily. Widows and supporters, PLEASE do this!! I just took the opportunity to send an email. You have a set "message" but can customize or add to it....which I always do. Here is what I wrote:
I am the widow of SSgt. Donald C. May, Jr., who was killed in action on March 25, 2003. At the time, I was seven and a half months pregnant with our third child. Just so it is clear, I receive the benefits that my husband PAID FOR with his almost 13 year career, his blood, his sweat, and his ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. I find it hard to believe that my government would "default" on my husband's Sacrifice intentionally and pray that it was an oversight, a mistake. I write to urge you to take concrete actions to prevent future budget stalemates and government shutdowns from hurting our nation's wounded, injured and ill heroes, SURVIVING families, by formally and publicly supporting legislation to extend advance appropriations to all veterans programs, benefits and services.
As a consequence of the partial government shutdown, many critical services for veterans were delayed, disrupted and suspended. Work was stopped on more than 250,000 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were suspended.
Had this stalemate continued for another couple of weeks, even mandatory obligations of the federal government, such as disability compensation and pension payments to veterans and their survivors, would have been halted. More than four million wounded, injured, ill and poor veterans rely on these payments; for some it is their primary or only source of income. It is simply unacceptable that there was even the threat of default on these payments.
Fortunately there is a commonsense legislative remedy that would insulate VA and veterans from the harmful effects of future shutdowns, and even during times when there are temporary continuing resolutions. Legislation pending in both the House (H.R. 813) and the Senate (S. 932), the "Putting Veterans Funding First Act," would extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary programs. These bipartisan bills would build on the success of Public Law 111-81, which was approved almost unanimously by Congress and signed into law in October 2009. That law provided advance appropriations to VA's medical care programs and as a result, VA hospitals and outpatient clinics were able to provide uninterrupted health care services to injured and ill veterans during the shutdown because they already had their budgets in approved in advance. Now is the time to extend this same protection to all VA programs.
I urge you to formally and publicly support the "Putting Veterans Funding First Act" and to support an amendment that would also provide advance appropriations for VA's mandatory funding as well. Veterans' services and benefits should never again be held hostage to unrelated budget stalemates. My children's futures should never be held hostage. My children have already sacrificed enough. It is time to change how Washington funds veterans programs by putting veterans funding first. America's heroes deserve no less.
I look forward to hearing of the actions you take to help enact this legislation to provide advance appropriations to all VA programs, services and benefits.
Don't know HOW to contact your local politicians? We can make that easy for you....
THIS LINK takes you to a page that requires only your zip code, to find all the contact information you need to speak up - make your voices heard.
On that site, they add their voices in demanding passage of this legislation with this Action Alert:
To Protect Veterans During Future Shutdowns, Congress Must Pass, and the President Must Sign, New Legislation to Extend Advance Appropriations to All VA Programs
Please Write the President, Your Senators and Representatives Today!
October was a bad month for our country and for our veterans, as the partial government shutdown disrupted, delayed and suspended critical services and benefits due to the men and women who have served in uniform. Had this budget stalemate continued for another week of two, it would have been devastating to millions of veterans, their families and survivors, as benefit checks for disability compensation, pension and DIC would have been cut off due to a lack of appropriations. This must never happen again!Four years ago, Congress passed, and the President signed, legislation to provide advance appropriations for most VA health care programs, thereby providing them with funding a year in advance. Thanks to that law (P.L. 111-81), even while parts of the government shut down earlier this month, VA hospitals and outpatient clinics were able to provide uninterrupted health care to injured and ill veterans because they already had their budgets approved in advance. Unfortunately, the law did not protect other veterans benefits and services, including disability compensation, insurance, home loan guaranty and GI education support, nor did it fund hospital construction, medical and prosthetic research, nor information technology programs.
With the fresh evidence of how damaging budget stalemates and government shutdowns are for veterans, their families and survivors, we must take decisive action to prevent this from recurring. Now is the time to get Congress to pass, and the President to sign, new legislation to extend advance appropriations to all VA programs, services and benefits.
Fortunately there is already legislation pending in both the House (H.R. 813) and Senate (S. 932) that could easily be amended, passed, and enacted into law if there is the political will to do so. Called the "Putting Veterans Funding First Act," this commonsense legislation would require Congress to pass a full year's appropriations bill for all VA discretionary programs one year in advance. Since we know now that VA's mandatory disability compensation and other benefits were also at jeopardy during the shutdown, Congress should amend the legislation to include all mandatory funding in the advance appropriation as well.
We need you to contact your Member of Congress, your Senators and the President and let them know that it's time to put veterans funding first. It's time for Congress to pass, and the President to sign, legislation that would extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary and mandatory programs.
Please use the prepared message to urge your Member of Congress, your Senators and the President to amend, pass and enact advance appropriations legislation this year.
What are YOU waiting for? PLEASE do this - today... Thank you.