ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- An incident involving a group of World War II veterans being turned away from the WWII memorial sparked even more controversy tied to the government shutdown. Members of the House of Representatives tried to pass two laws to open national parks and provide any needed funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate turned down the legislation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated if the shutdown continues into late October it will run out of money for disability compensation and pension checks to more than 3.6 million veterans who rely on the money.
Veteran Jason Foley with the Air Force said there could be dire consequences, "These are guys who are already stressed out and trying to reintegrate into society. Some of them are living off these pension and disability checks. It is their only means of income. Some of them are feeding their families, paying their rent. If you take them away, they can't provide for themselves or their families."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 3.6 million veterans receive disability compensation and 300,000 receive pensions.
Foley spent eight years in the Air Force and after returning in 2012 the compensation checks helped with the reintegration process.
"From being told what to do everyday, provided meals, housing, to your on your own and you haven't been living that way for years. A lot of guys initially have a little trouble with that, some not all. But they need to know that there is a cushion and they are still being taken care of by the country that they were willing to put their lives on the line for," said Foley.
Maine has a population of 130,196 veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides those veterans with more than $420,000 each year.