News Department

Gottheimer sounds the alarm on far-right extremists threatening veterans with looming government shutdown

Shutdown will cut veteran services and delay benefits

PARAMUS, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday sounded the alarm on the immediate, negative impact a shutdown would have on our nation’s veterans and strongly urged Members of Congress to come together and keep the government open.

The 2013 shutdown, which spanned 17 days, cost the VA and taxpayers about $25 million dollars and 416 years of lost productivity from the 10,000 furloughed VA employees.

Government shutdown impacts on veterans:

  • Stops the VA from working through the backlog of veterans claims in their system. This will even further delay those sick or injured from receiving disability benefits including for physical conditions, chronic illnesses, and mental health conditions like PTSD.
    • More than 400,000 veterans are waiting to hear back from the VA – and a shutdown will make the wait even longer.
  • Stops the VA from providing veterans with career counseling or transition assistance program activities when veterans return home from active duty.
    • About 250,000 Service members transition to civilian life each year.
    • These programs help deliver information, resources, resume training, interview prep, and tools to help prepare for the move from military to civilian life.
  • Cuts off the GI Bill Hotline, which helps veterans navigate the education benefits that they’ve earned.
  • Stops the VA from being able to properly honor veterans who have passed away. The VA will be unable to place permanent headstones on veterans’ graves, and prevent them from maintaining the grounds at VA national cemeteries.

A government shutdown will also:

  • Freeze new investments for the federal school meals program, meals on wheels for seniors, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for lower-income pregnant and nursing women, babies, and young children, and for SNAP to help lower-income families with their groceries.
  • Impact the economy, infrastructure projects, federal food inspections, the safety of our nation’s transportation, and will cost jobs, profits, and economic growth.

Gottheimer Action to Stop a Government Shutdown:

  • First, Gottheimer is sending an urgent letter to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, calling on him to stand up to ultra-right extremists, honor the government funding agreement he made with Leader Schumer, avert a government shutdown, and help protect our veterans.
  • Second, Gottheimer is urging his colleagues in the House to support a six week government funding extension and protect our veterans, children, seniors, and families from a shutdown.
    • This would allow space for a longer term budget deal to be reached.
  • Third, Gottheimer will work to avoid the lack of certainty that comes with patchwork solutions to government funding. This strategy impacts every government department, and can cost our military hundreds of millions of dollars and almost 5,000 years of lost productivity and halted projects due to staff furloughs.

“It makes me sick that these far-right extremists are ready to defund our veterans and our families most in need. Behind us, hundreds of veterans from nearly every conflict since World War Two live. It’s unimaginable to me that after sacrificing so much, any Member of Congress would put at risk key investments to help our veterans, young and old, but that’s exactly what a small group of them are doing,” said Gottheimer. “If the Speaker believes, as he should, that one of his most important responsibilities is to protect those who have served and sacrificed for our nation, there should be no scenario where he lets a small band of far-right extremists defund the government.”

Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Commissioner Rafael Marte and VFW Post-6467 Commander Warren Williams.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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