In his opening statement, Sec. Shinseki told the committee that he would be unable to issue benefits checks on November 1, if the government has not reopened by that time. He noted that many of his furloughed employees are Veterans, so not only are they not receiving a paycheck, but now their disability benefits may be in jeopardy.
The committee will be playing to the cameras and veteran voters. But their actions with regard to the shutdown in the next few days will speak louder than words. Which ones are allies? Which ones are enemies?
Update: I’ve watched for 1 hour. Eric has made it clear that 5.18 million beneficiaries will NOT get their checks on 11/1/13 if this shutdown continues into late October because of the “burn rate” in the account that pays them. This includes ALL compensation payments including 100% disabled veterans, survivors, children, pensioners, educational benefits, rehabilitation benefits. He said that a large portion of beneficiaries are “lower-waged” and “in need of our help.” Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) made an extremely insulting question/remark about veterans whose claims include “shaving bumps, or sleep apnea and hemorrhoids”–at around 1:02:00. Sec. Shinseki didn’t take the bait. He’s actually doing a pretty good job explaining the situation. The VHA portion of the VA budget (80%) received advanced funding in October 1 so the medical services will continue.