With government shutdown over, Milw. area veterans relieved

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The government shutdown is over, after Congress Wednesday night passed a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Pres. Obama signed the bill late Wednesday night. With the government shutdown now over, it's back to business as usual -- a huge relief for many, including veterans.

On October 8th, the Milwaukee V.A. Regional Office was closed to the public. Some employees were put on unpaid furlough and veterans were not able to make claims.

Now, the office is back open, but some veterans feel the fight is far from over.

"(Veterans) will finally be allowed inside the VA Regional Office so they can come in and actually see me in my office instead of me going out to see them. Veterans and their families should not have had to worry at all because of a government shutdown. It's just reprehensible in my opinion," James Fialkowski with the American Legion said.

Fialkowski had been meeting veterans in the VA Office's parking lot and places around Milwaukee during the shutdown. He says his big question was whether he would be paid -- a question he couldn't answer just days ago.

"Looks like the government is up and running in time to stop from having any type of stopage I should say," Fialkowski said.

Meanwhile, disabled veteran Deborah Britson feared the worst.

"It's my life. I can't work because of my back legs and feet are bad. I would be homeless. I wouldn't be able to pay rent or anything. I'd be homeless," Britson said.

With the government shutdown, Britson says her livelihood was at stake -- and for now, she is resting assured, knowing the money will be there -- albeit for the short term.

"Just going to keep in touch. I'm going to keep watching the news and keep up to date on what's going on and hope for the best. That's all I can do," Britson said.

It appears checks for November will go out on time, according to a veterans representative.

Spending goes through January 15th under this new deal, and many are fearing the shutdown we just saw could happen again.

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