Richmond veteran takes to street to protest shutdown

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-06 18:18:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Entering day six of the federal government shutdown, Congress is showing few signs of passing a final resolution on the budget.

As the shutdown progresses, one local veteran is making his stance on Congress' progress clear.

"The top cats on top, they don't understand how it works [for veterans].  They claim they do, but they don't," said Michael Rowe, who served in Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

Rowe, who receives both education and medical benefits from his service, took his message to the street Sunday at the corner of Boulevard and Broad Street.  The sign read, "Shutdown will mean more homeless vets."

"Veterans in this country we've suffered way too much for these benefits," said Rowe.  "These aren't hand-me-downs from the government, we've earned these."

The Department of Veteran Affairs said certain programs, such as medical services, have not been impacted by the shutdown because they received advanced funding.  However, some veteran benefits (compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs) could be delayed or suspended due to a prolonged shutdown, according the Veteran Affair's website.

"I pay rent here," said Rowe about his Boulevard apartment.  "But if the housing allowance from the V.A. does not come to me, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to handle that."

Rowe, like many veterans, said he hopes Congress comes to an agreement soon, before his day to day process is dramatically altered.