Shutdown shenanigans snub troops, families, vets


Shutdown shenanigans snub troops, families, vets

by: Kim Suchek | .
. | .
published: October 07, 2013

Hello military community,

Even before the government shutdown, the dirt throwing, bashing and blame game had been going on between republicans and Democrats for years. In the last several years it has only gotten worse. Is anyone really surprised with the government shut down? I am not. I expected it to happen.

The big question is “what will be the repercussions” – Not only to our “leaders” in congress, but to Americans and our great nation?

To me the government’s vote to continue paying troops as part of a last-minute budget deal before the shutdown was bitter sweet. While I was comforted with knowing we had the money to continue paying bills on time, I realized that had my husband NOT been deployed he would be one of the 400,000 soldiers forced to stay home and take mandatory unpaid leave.

This is called furlough and the government will not be required to pay back those who suffer because Congress cannot, will not or refuses to do its job (take your pick).

Many of our friends are technicians or contractors within the Army and Air National Guard who have been deployed several times, work full time and in many cases are still in the process of trying to get stable and recover from deployments. One family – with two soldiers that are both technicians – has gone from being a two-income family down to a zero-income family. This is one nightmare among many thousands, some whom are your families, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, etc.

At a time when the dollar needs to stretch even more than usual stateside commissaries are closed, routine medical appointments for troops and their families may be delayed or canceled, and veterans’ benefits from pension payments to call centers are again being threatened for postponement.

And to make it even harder for military families, around 4 percent of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ workforce – some 14,000 employees – will be furloughed. Why is this troublesome? More than half of those workers will come from the Veterans Benefits Administration, charged with clearing several hundred thousand backlogged claims.

Along with veterans call centers, veteran business support centers will be closed immediately and vocational rehabilitation and education counseling will be limited. And should the shutdown extend into the later part of October, possible VA compensation, education and other benefits would be cut off.

While I agree that our federal government should never put veterans or their families in this kind of position, I also feel NO American, civilian, contractor or otherwise, should be put in this position.  What happened to leaders taking control and figuring out solutions or compromising? Where is the leader? Stop the blame game – is it really helping anyone?

Both sides have had disagreements since the beginning. Why has it been worse the past 10 years? Stop using the military community and senior citizens as leverage. Both sides of congress are acting like kids that had their favorite toys taken away, when maybe they need to lose their pay and jobs.

There are many resources available to help during these troubled times. If you need assistance with pay, medical, emotional, etc., feel free to email me and I will direct you to an appropriate resource. Anyone have an opinion about this shutdown?

Blessings from my family to yours,

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at and visit my website at for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.