Veterans Affairs Secretary Says Benefit Payments Will Halt If Shutdown Continues

October 9, 2013 7:24 a.m.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Wednesday that if the government shutdown continues into the coming weeks, his department will not be able to ensure that Nov. 1 benefit checks are delivered.

Shinseki testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee that 5.18 million beneficiaries are expecting about $6.25 billion dollars in payments, which cover a range of benefits from tuition compensation to support for surviving spouses and children of a deceased member of the military or veteran.

House Republicans advanced a series of bills to fund portions of the government, including Veterans Affairs, in a piecemeal fashion. Senate Democrats have said those smaller bills won’t pass their chamber, and the White House has threatened to veto piecemeal legislation.

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