- Posted October 2, 2013 by
Tennessee Veterans Tell Republicans Shutting Down Government: Enough Already
Nashville, TN – On Wednesday, Oct. 2, Organizing for Action volunteers held gathered outside the Veterans Admin Office in downtown Nashville to tell House Republicans to stop sabotaging our economy and putting their politics before our veterans. Their constituents have had enough of the political partisan games that led to this federal government shutdown. The irresponsible choices of a group of congressional Republicans hurt hard working Americans, veterans, military families and our economy as it continues to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. This recklessness is beneath what Americans expect from their elected officials, and they’ve rightly had enough. Organizing for Action volunteers sent this important message to Tennessee Republicans Wednesday.
Speakers included Retired Sergeant Eric Richardson and Marine Veteran Officer Bob Tuke.
Marine Officer Tuke said: “I served from 1969-1973. Now I am Chairman of the Tennessee State Veterans Homes Board and President of the Board of Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc., a Veterans service organization. I’m here today with veterans and local supporters to say to the House Republicans: stop sabotaging our economy to satisfy your obsession with slashing Medicare and Social Security, and defunding Obamacare. Enough Already!”
“The Pentagon estimates that a shutdown would cause them to furlough half of their civilian workforce: There are 5,514 civilian military employees in Tennessee. Active duty service members -- 22,156 in Tennessee -- would still come to work, but their paychecks may be delayed until appropriations are enacted. Death benefits to families of military members killed in the line of duty would also likely be delayed until an appropriations bill is passed. This is recklessness, it is beneath what Americans expect from their elected officials, and we have all had enough.”
Sergeant Richardson first enlisted in Army in 2008 as a Combat Engineer. He served inAfghanistan in 2010 with 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division where he was shot in both legs in Kandahar Province on Easter Sunday 2011 and returned home to Nashville. He has been awarded the Purple Heart, 3 Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Badge, is a Graduate from Austin Peay, currently attends Tennessee State and is the very face and real life story of who the Republicans are harming in this.
“I cannot believe Republicans in Congress are being so irresponsible with the country I and other veterans have fought for. Shutting down the government just to try to defund a law that gives more folks access to health care only hurts veterans, military families and our county. That's not how we do things in America. We don't actively root for failure.” Said Sergeant Richardson
Sergant Richardson went on to say: “Harming veterans, military families and our economy just to refight old political battles won’t help middle class families. The Republican Party shutting down the government just to refight old political fights just doesn’t make sense. What the country wants and what the American people need, is for Congress to stop the fighting and turn the focus back on jobs and investments in economic growth"
A government shutdown hurts veterans. “During the 1995-96 shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans.” [Army Times, 2/3/11; CNN, 1/4/96]
A government shutdown hurts military families. Many military families live paycheck to paycheck and could be hurt significantly by a government shutdown. “While most service members and military personnel would remain on duty through a shutdown, their paychecks could be delayed.” [Stars and Stripes, 3/13/11]
A government shutdown harms students. During a shutdown, “[c]olleges and universities would not be able to draw down and disburse to students any campus-based program awards, such as work-study or the Federal Perkins Loan Program.” The $1.1 billion work-study program helps more than 704,000 students. The $948 million Perkins program helps more than 484,000 students. [Center for American Progress, 4/11; Dep’t of Education, 5/17/13]
Sergeant Richardson: “Congressman Blackburn, Congressman DesJarlais, Congressman Black: holding our economy hostage, shutting down our government just to satisfy your obsession to defund ObamaCare, only hurts veterans, military families and our economy – Enough Already. That’s now how adults operate. Certainly that’s not how our government should operate. We are better than this.”
“We want our leaders to focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. We are sick and tired of having their economic security on the line. Reopen our government. Get back to work. Enough Already. Do your jobs!” – Marine Officer Tuke closes.