VA Now Closing Regional Offices, Furloughing Employees

Up To 320,000 Veterans In Louisiana Could Be Affected By Bill Cassidy’s Refusal To Support Clean Funding Bill To Re-Open Government

New Orleans, Louisiana – Bill Cassidy’s decision to shut down the government in order to delay the same health care reforms he tried to pass at the state level in 2007 has proved to be a shameful political calculation with damaging effects that just keep getting worse for Louisiana families.

While Bill Cassidy continues his refusal to support a clean funding bill – the only piece of legislation that would put an immediate end to the government shutdown of his doing – the Veterans Benefits Administration is sounding the alarm about devastating consequences that will occur if the government doesn’t re-open soon.

The Army Times reports:

“Veterans regional offices will be closed and nobody will answer their phones beginning Tuesday morning as the government shutdown forces furloughs of 7,000 employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

“Another shoe could drop soon as VA officials warn that a government shutdown ending in the last two weeks of October could result in delays in Nov. 1 benefits payments, including disability compensation, GI Bill living stipends and dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors.”

That’s right. Bill Cassidy’s government shutdown could soon delay up to 320,000 veterans across Louisiana from receiving veterans’ benefits as a result of their service.

At the same time this is happening, 26 GOP Congressman are saying they are ready to support a clean funding bill that re-opens the government and ends the government shutdown – but not Bill Cassidy. Cassidy has doubled down, and even prevented votes to get the government back up and running.

Instead, Cassidy appears to support an increasingly reckless Republican plan that threatens the full faith and credit of the United States and would wreak havoc on the U.S. and world economy.

“Bill Cassidy’s decision to shut down the government in order to block implementing the same health care reforms he tried to pass at the state level only six years ago was a shameful political calculation that will soon have devastating consequences for up to 320,000 veterans across Louisiana,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “Bill Cassidy’s refusal to support a clean funding that bill that ends his government shutdown will soon force a delay in benefits payments, disability compensation and GI Bill living stipends that as many as 320,000 veterans in Louisiana earned from their service to this country.”

Zucker added, “As Bill Cassidy continues to support an indefinite government shutdown that hurts Louisiana and threatens the stability of our economy, it’s become increasingly clear that his only concern is protecting his personal political interests and he can’t be counted on to fight for Louisiana families.”


2007: Cassidy Proposed Louisiana “Create a Statewide Health Insurance Exchange” During State Senate Campaign. During his campaign for the State Senate, Cassidy proposed that Louisiana “create a statewide Health Insurance Exchange to lower insurance premiums, decrease administrative costs and allow flexibility in which benefits workers choose.” [Cassidy for State Senate, Website Archive, 2007]

Five Times, Cassidy Voted For Plans That Would Shutdown Government. [HJ Res 59, Vote #478, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/29/13; Vote #498, 9/29/13; Vote 502, 9/30/13; Vote 504, 9/30/13; Vote 505, 10/1/13]

Three Times, Cassidy Blocked Clean Vote to Re-Open the Government. [Vote #512, 10/2/13; TPM, 10/2/13; Vote #515, 10/3/13; Vote #517, 10/3/13]

Cassidy Signed A Letter Asking GOP House Leadership Not To Support Any Spending Bill Unless The Affordable Care Act Is Defunded. “U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy joined more than one-third of U.S. House Republicans in urging the leadership to threaten to force a government shutdown unless Obamacare is defunded… The letter that Cassidy signed onto includes 80 of the House’s 233 Republicans and asks the GOP House leadership not to support any spending bill — including a needed continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown after Sept. 30 — unless the Affordable Care Act health care law is defunded.” [The Advocate, 8/25/13]

In 2009, Louisiana Had 17,398 Active Military Personnel And 6,647 Civilian Personnel. [Census, 9/30/11]

Cassidy’s Government Shutdown Could Delay Veterans’ Benefits: Services critical to our veterans, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel, could be curtailed. “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.” [CRS, 4/23/13; Army Times, 2/3/11; Committee on Appropriations, 4/6/11]

According To The Most Recent Estimates, 319,349 Veterans Live In Louisiana. [VA, 9/30/12]