By: Augustine Ugalde
As the government shutdown approaches the three-week mark, most students at East Los Angeles College remain largely unaffected by the power struggle playing-out in Washington today.
Congressional Republicans have decided to hold the nation hostage by using the shutdown as leverage to put the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on hold.
President Barack Obama is steadfast in his position that the so-called Obamacare legislation is a legal act, passed by both the House and Senate in 2010, and that Republican actions of this type are illegal.
A resolution to this problem is slow in coming, and last week the veterans of ELAC, and more than 500,000 veterans nationwide, who are receiving educational benefits, were notified that they will not be paid in November. This differs from most ELAC students who receive federal financial aid through the FAFSA program, as their educational benefits will not be affected.
Only new applications and appeals are on hold for those students.
Veterans, on the other hand, have been put into a potentially dire situation because of this illegal shutdown and some may not survive it.
Many veterans depend on educational benefits for their very survival. Without these benefits, some veterans will not be able to pay their rent, buy food or pay their bills.
Thank you for your service.
The GI Bill was put into place to help educate these young men and women who came to the call of their country, and now are being turned away by the very government they helped defend.
One of the reasons I served in the Marine Corps was because of the GI Bill and its promise to help educate me so that I could live a better life after my service to the country was done.
It is the simplest of agreements. I give the government several years of my life and in turn I receive educational benefits that increase my employment opportunities.
To have the government turn its back on half a million former service members; is just plain wrong, especially when considering this is being done as a result of political pandering. Fortunately, Republican hard-balling has not gone unnoticed.
In a Gallup poll released Oct. 9, the Republican party is now viewed favorably by only 28 percent of the American people. The poll was taken Oct. 3-6, just days after the partial government shutdown went into effect, and represents a drop of 10 percent from September’s approval rating.
Gallup reports that this rating is the lowest favorable rating for either party since it began asking this question more than 20 years ago.
Democrats have also felt the sting of disapproval losing four percent in approval ratings in October, leaving the party’s rating at 43 percent. Clearly there are issues on both sides of this controversy, but why must it hurt veterans who served their country faithfully and are in need of the benefits they have earned?
Veterans receiving educational benefits represent less than two percent of the country’s population,.How will meeting this obligation hurt a government that spends trillions annually?
Organizations such as the Veteran Students of America, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have all decried the shutdown, and the negative effect it has caused veterans, calling for its immediate end. It just doesn’t measure up.