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Veterans backlog could increase if shutdown continues
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- It takes an average of 450 days for a veteran's claim to get processed with the Department of Veteran Affairs in El Paso.
But if the government shutdown continues, that wait time could get a whole lot longer.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said it has the money to process claims through late October.
But if the shutdown continues, that money will run out and certain programs wouldn't have the funding to continue.
Medical care is protected but disability claims and pension benefits aren't.
A local veteran, Frank Nieto, is one of thousands who could potentially see some serious consequences due to the shutdown.
"They shouldn't touch any of them. It should be going, moving on, as of there's no obstacles, there should not be no obstacles for these veterans. Take care of the people who protect this country because if you don't, who else is going to do it?" Nieto said.
O'Rourke said the only way to fully help these vets is to pass a budget and he's going to work with both sides to get that done as soon as possible.