What was The American Legion’s response to the two government shutdowns at the end of 1995?
Although the circumstances were not exactly the same – VA was not dealing with a claims backlog; hostilities in Bosnia were winding down with discussion on the Dayton Agreement; and the economy was somewhat better – The American Legion still had a careful eye on the happenings in Washington. According to John Sommer, then executive director of the Legion’s Washington office, "...The American Legion was communicating in strong terms to both Congress and the (Clinton) administration regarding any possible impact the shutdown might have on veterans and their families."
The first shutdown – Nov. 14-19, 1995 – was not long enough to affect military paychecks. The second – Dec. 16, 1995 to Jan. 6, 1996 – would have affected military pay, but defense appropriations sent through on Dec. 1 ensured no hiccup. During the two shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, and educational benefits were delayed to 170,000 servicemembers.