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WWII Memorial Just the Tip of Administration’s Record with Vets

Never mind Occupy camping illegally allowed on NPS land -- those who served also getting short shrift on care, claims and benefits funding.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

October 4, 2013 - 5:59 pm
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WASHINGTON — As the government shut down this week, the question of just how much of the suspension of operations was necessary and how much was choreographed optics was summarized with the closure of the World War II Memorial to visiting Honor Flight vets.

Members of Congress there to meet their home-state delegations helped get their constituents past park police, lawmakers scrambled to get national parks reopened as one of the first of many piecemeal appropriations bills, and another emergency measure aimed to keep benefits flowing to veterans through the shutdown also hit the floor.

But the White House veto threats that followed those efforts simply underscored a longstanding administration pattern in regard to those who have served their country.

On the eve of the shutdown President Obama signed the unanimously approved bill to keep active-duty military members paid throughout the government’s troubles.

Concerned Veterans for America organizing committee member Jessie Jane Duff, a retired gunnery sergeant who served 20 years on active duty in the Marine Corps, told PJM it “would have been political suicide” for Obama to refuse to sign that bill. In disregarding the same for veterans, “maybe it will be” political suicide.

“Veterans tend to be both parties; it’s just not the area you want to go into and use as your sacrificial cow,” Duff said.

On Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded that National Parks Service director Jonathan Jarvis explain to his panel the justification for the decision to close open-air monuments.

“Information presented to the Committee suggested budget adjustments resulting in obvious hardship or displeasure for the public were chosen in lieu of more prudent measures,” Issa wrote to Jarvis. “Specifically, the Committee received information that proposed budget adjustments submitted by an NPS official in the field to deal with sequestration impacts were rejected by NPS superiors in favor of cuts that would be more visible and disruptive.”

The House Natural Resources Committee sent out a flashback reminder today noting that open-air memorials along the National Mall were not closed to visitors by President Clinton during the 1995 shutdown. The committee Republicans even dug up a 1995 photo showing a sign at the Lincoln Memorial noting visitor services were closed, but guests still strolled through the non-barricaded monument.

The committee’s leaders also noted this week that the NPS let the Occupy movement camp out in McPherson Square for months, causing thousands of dollars in damage through their illegal camping, yet erected barricades to keep Word War II veterans from a daytime visit to their memorial.

Natural Resources has warned Jarvis to keep documents on all of the shutdown decisions so that they’re available for their own upcoming investigation.

“The Obama administration’s closing of these sites is not something they are required to do, it’s something they are choosing to do,” Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said on the House floor this week. “The Obama administration wants the effects of this government shutdown to be as painful as possible, so they are going out of their way to make it so.”

The effects of government policies for veterans have already been painful, though, shutdown or not.

Last month, PJM reported that the VA medical facility on the island of St. Thomas has been without a doctor for almost a month — one of the more extreme examples of doctor shortages that have been experienced across the system.

Vets have been waiting far longer for processing of their claims — a problem for which the administration has been under fire for some time yet has just been inching toward a salve.

Veterans Affairs staff have been working 20 hours of overtime a week to push the number of backlogged claims — pending for more than 125 days — under 500,000, working toward the goal of clearing the backlog by 2015.

Duff noted that the backlog was caused by a VA unprepared to handle claims for previously unrecognized conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder, Agent Orange and Desert Storm syndrome.

“It’s great that they opened up recognition but they did nothing to ensure they could handle the mass introduction of claims,” she said.

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Top Rated Comments   
Of course the shutdown is painful as possible. Just like his entire presidency. Racism got him elected; what do you expect?
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lets not forget Inauguration day in 2009 when Obama chose not to attend the gathering of Medal of Honor recipients. It was first held in 1953 and every president of either party had always attended, every inauguration day. I guess he had to shake to his ass elsewhere. Probably for some gangsta rapper or Muslim get-together. I've disliked that man ever since. I just want him to go back home to Chicago and get back to community organizing.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another little item affecting retirees is the closing of commissaries on military bases. Many retirees shop on bases close to them to save money. One example is Andrews AFB where the commissary is closed but of course the golf Course where Obama plays is still open!
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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Well...I just found out this afternoon that his minions are denying Federal death benefits to US warriors killed in action ($100,000 to the surviving family as soon as the death is verified) "because of the government shutdown".

This guy is the most heartless, unfeeling, anti-American person ever to arrive in government...and where does he land?? In the White House!!

I hope Americans now realize that elections do, INDEED, have consequences. I think he has done enough to eliminate most, if not all Democrats, from public office for a long, long time. I certainly intend to help grease the skids for all of them in 2014 and 2016.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Certainly not just vets, but the military in general. How has the administration done on making sure our overseas military could actually vote in elections?
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
This "president" is not fit to even push the wheelchair of one of this country's true heroes.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was on a government website today. In big bold red letters at the top of each page was a notice that some features and services could not be done because of furloughed workers and the government shutdown. Other than the notice, the whole website seemed fine and everything I needed to do there I did easily.

At least the shutdown kept Obama from spending a 100 million dollars so he could snuggle with Asian dictators.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama despises the military & all it stands for period.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The political cynicism of ObamaRx is incredible.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even the most inept can learn from their mistakes. Having a memo circulated during the start of the sequester stating that departments were supposed to "make it hurt" wasn't the smartest thing to do, specially when it is revealed. Most likely no similar memo exists about this budget impasse has been circulated, but I guarantee the message was passed by word of mouth.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another lesson in that reason for the the Constitutional Republic of the United States.

By people who knew a thing or two about government. That thing or two that informed them that NO Government can be trusted.

The "dead white males" and those who spent their blood and treasury in the late 18th century to create a government of Citizens, NOT SUBJECTS to a royal court : The Constitutional Republic of the United States.

A government LIMITED in principle, ethos AND LAW, as a "Country of Law" to intrusions into the lives of those CITIZENS .

Citizens as Sovereign, i.e ultimate authority, over the government, its agencies and agents.

To which all persons elected to REPRESENT the citizens swear/affirm oath to Uphold and DEFEND the fundamental structure the Constitution.

It seems only very few so elected understand and respect that oath. That freely taken oath.

The Constitution belongs to the American People. Remember the words that give reasons for it as witness of intent, We The People.

The oath is thus to the American People. Which unless sadly mistaken includes those men and women who spent their blood and treasury in the 20th and 21st centuries to uphold and defend that Constitiution, that nation, that Republic.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will not stand by and watch this country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose.

We have come together here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation’s highest offices. And we stand united in our resolve to do something about it. We need a rebirth of the American tradition of leadership at every level of government, and in private life as well.

Trust-me government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man, that we trust him to do what’s best for us. Well, my view of government places trust not in one person or one party but in those values that transcend persons and parties.

Ronald Reagan
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine a time when a general government worker strike shutters every medical facility in America.

That's Obama"care".
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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