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Veterans Call For End to Harmful Government Shutdown

January 22, 2018 (New York, NY) — Today, on the third day of another disruptive and avoidable government shutdown, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading non-partisan Post-9/11 veterans empowerment organization, called on Congress and the President to end the shutdown. IAVA and leading non-partisan veterans groups fought the shutdown back in 2013 and worked to ensure that VA had systems in place to protect veterans in the event of a future shutdown. Today, because of that advocacy five years ago, VA benefits and healthcare are much less affected. However, VA support is not totally uninterrupted, and the Department of Defense (DoD) and other agencies veterans and troops rely on have already been deeply impacted. IAVA urges Congress to end this standoff and to restore funding to the government so that it can fully serve our nation’s military and veteran population and maintain our national security strength.

Nearly one third of all government employees are veterans, and half of DoD employees are veterans. Since the federal government shutdown began, IAVA has fielded calls and received numerous emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from veterans and troops worldwide asking about the impact of the shutdown on their benefits and services. The men and women who served our nation did their jobs without question and without delay, and those currently serving continue to perform their duties, even while questions remain about whether or not our government will default on its commitment to compensate and care for them and their families.

“The government is shut down because politicians in Washington could not see past their partisan bickering and put our country first. It is shameful, and we’ve quickly seen firsthand the ways the shutdown is impacting veterans and our military. There are troops overseas right now in Afghanistan, where the Taliban just attacked a hotel over the weekend, who do not know if they’re getting their next paycheck. If nothing else, Congress must act immediately to ensure the men and women serving today and who served in the past are not harmed because of partisan bickering,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA.

“The troops in harm’s way from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria, are dodging real bullets, the last thing they need is to be thrown into the shutdown crossfire back here at home. And the last thing their families who already spend sleepless nights need, is to be tortured by headlines that underscore that fact,” said Allison Jaslow, IAVA Executive Director and two-tour Iraq War veteran.

IAVA’s blog has an updated list of resources available to troops and veterans through our programs, our non-profit partners and allies, and from the federal government. We will continue to update them as often as possible.

IAVA’s dynamic Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) social workers are trained to help veterans and military family members navigate all types of transition issues. If the government shutdown affects veterans benefits, livelihood, or well being and they need support, our highly-skilled RRRP team will do their best to help.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.