WASHINGTON – A coalition of 33 of the leading veterans and uniformed services organizations that represent more than 5.5 million members will converge this week with other leading military nonprofit groups to demand an end to the government shutdown.
The rally, which is expected to draw hundreds of veterans, is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the World War II Memorial, officials with the nonprofit organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced Sunday in a press release.
The shutdown has been devastating for the nation’s military readiness and for the veterans, service members, families and survivors in the uniformed services community, according to the nonpartisan group.
"Veterans who receive disability and GI Bill benefits and survivors who rely on survivor benefits don't know if they'll get their next check," said Carlisle Williams, a spokesperson for the IAVA in Washington, D.C.
National Guard and reserve monthly training has been canceled, affecting critical troop readiness and pay. Many services that military families count on daily are suspended, he added.
"Veterans make up 27 percent of the federal workforce and do not know when they will get to go back to work," he said in a press release.
The 435,000 veterans in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims backlog have to wait even longer as well, a travesty that should be corrected immediately, he said.
Some of the speakers scheduled to speak at the event alongside IAVA representatives will be from the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, the Air Force Sergeants Association, the Reserve Officers Association and the National Military Family Association.