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Kansas City-area veterans weigh impact of possible debt default

Lenexa VFW post
Posted at 3:40 PM, May 23, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United States has quite the bill to pay in just a few days.

On June 1, the government is supposed to pay its veterans 12 billion dollars as a part of their benefits.

If the U.S. defaults on its loans, those payments may be delayed. The treasury will make the ultimate decision on who receives a check.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are confident leaders will reach an agreement.

“I'm confident that we're going to reach a deal for the American people,” Missouri Republican Rep. Mark Alford said. “This is too important not to compromise on both sides, to reach a deal that's good for the American people.”

Alford added his party wants to trim “the fat of the president’s bloated budget” in exchange of raising the debt ceiling.

On the other side of the state and aisle, Kansas Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids said there is a time for conversations about budget, but the focus in the moment is the bills America needs to pay.

“It sounds like we are moving in a positive direction, so that gives me some hope,” Davids said. “At the end of the day, the idea that we would not pay our bills, that the Unites States full faith and credit might be called into question is not just irresponsible — it’s unacceptable.”

Local veterans like Rick McKenna said they are not losing sleep over debt ceiling talks, even with a June 1 deadline.

“Democracy is messy as we all know. But I proudly served for 22 years in the United States Airforce to defend that messiness and the right to argue our points back and forth,” McKenna said. “Somehow, some way, as Americans, we always find a way to find middle ground. And I firmly believe we will find a middle ground in the situation before it is too late.”

McKenna served from 1986-2007 on the KC-135 refueling crew in desert shield, desert storm and missions in Somalia and Bosnia.

“I just feel like these politicians aren’t stupid,” McKenna said. “They know the ramifications and they’ll figure it out.”

Congress has just a few short days to raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on loans. There is a hard deadline of June 1, according to the treasury secretary.