Joining together in consternation at the continuing impasse between Congress and the White House over the budget debacle, Disabled American Veterans’ executive director held a press conference at the Washington, DC World War II memorial (where else) to bemoan the financial state of affairs facing 33 of our Veterans Service Organizations.
Garry Alexandre, the DAV spokesman, pointed out that the shutdown has caused extreme financial stress for the major VSOs’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and the hierarchy of the organizations. “We depend on the government to fund us regardless of what we tell Veterans. Those Power of Attorney documents (VA Form 21-22) are a vast source of our operating capital. We’re effectively fenced out of that income as long as Regional Offices are affected by the shutdown. If something doesn’t happen soon, our upper management will be forced to lay off rank and file service representatives. Dues from the organization will always cover the salaries of the upper echelons and our lobbyists but the little guys are gonna get creamed. Screwing up Veterans claims will have to be put on the back burner. I can’t speak for the other Service organizations but this may cut into our plans for DAV’s barbecue Luau and conference in Maui this summer. I don’t think Congress is thinking this through. Many of them have been invited and absent the funds, we can’t put it on.”
Other VSOs voiced the same concerns. Cal Worthington, the CEO of the Air Force Sergeants Association stepped up to the microphone next and bemoaned the fact that they only have enough money to keep their corporate jet airborne for another three days. After that, it will be grounded and they’ll have to seek other forms of public transportation. Said Worthington ” Americans don’t realize how many of us are bellying up to the trough for funds to help Veterans. We provide an important service to Veterans by mailing in their Power of Attorney and making sure it gets to the VA. After that, the Veterans is pretty much on his own but it is the critical, early filing of that document that sets the timeline for when we get paid. It’s a vicious cycle. No POA means no money for us. We simply can’t operate that way. We represent Vets somewhat and it involves a lot of talking. That’s thirsty work and requires some lubrication of the vocal chords. Liquor in Washington DC isn’t cheap so it behooves Congress to get off their duffs and renew our income stream.”
Most VSO spokesmen have maintained that a protracted shutdown would result in irrevocable damage to their good names. When queried on how that might be, a spokesman identified as “Steve” for VFW exclaimed “Don’t you guys get it? If Vets realize they can do it without us, we’ll become an anachronism! Pro se Vets are a danger to us as well as themselves. Our continued existence hinges on their stupidity. They think we actually do something. Say… you’re not going to print this, are you? I’m telling you this off the record, right?”
In order to keep a close eye on developments, we’ve dispatched an Asknod correspondent to DC to hang out at the WWII memorial daily since that seems to be where the action is. Since our income stream may also be interrupted, small contributions not to exceed $100,000 in small unmarked bills in standard white envelopes will be accepted. Our correspondent can be identified by her large purse and lapel pin with the Asknod WWVD logo (What Would Veterans Do).
We thank you in advance for your generous contributions.