Shutdown Affects Vets - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Shutdown Affects Vets

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BILLINGS -

After the nation's lawmakers failed to reach an agreement, the government shut down, which means no work for the employees of many federal agencies. The shutdown also hurts vets in Billings.

The October Big Sky Honor Flight is in two weeks. But the partial shutdown closed monuments and could affect the trip.

"To see the WWII memorial, which is dedicated for them, to thank them for their service as American heroes during WWII," said Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County Commissioner. "So this whole shutdown has caused us a lot of havoc, and it could be a loss of dollars that we have raised for the past two years."

Organizers say they plan on flying despite the shutdown. Eighty-seven vets are scheduled to go on the October 13th flight.

"Hopefully they'll come to some agreement back in Washington, D.C. and stop this bickering and get things going," Kennedy said. "It's affecting Montanans. It's affecting our WWII heroes. It's affecting everyone that's been involved with the honor flight."

All Veterans Affairs medical facilities will remain fully operational during the shutdown.

"I hope they keep it open," said Kyle Gibson, a Korean War veteran. "They're increasing the size of it. Good operations."

Gibson says he won't be affected much by the shutdown, but thinks it's unfair.

"I think it's a waste of time between the two groups," he said. "Get to some settlement between them."

Congressman Steve Daines secured votes Tuesday to keep Veterans Affairs and the national parks open during the partial government shutdown. According to the VA, claims processing and payments for some of the VA's programs will continue through late October. Decisions on claims appeals or motions will not be issued during the shutdown.