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Kokua Line: Veterans' jobs broadly affected by partial government shutdown

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - 1/17/2019

Jan. 17--Question: How many unpaid federal employees are veterans? I am retired military working in federal law enforcement and I know a lot of us are being hurt by this.

Answer: About 155,000 U.S. military veterans work for the departments or agencies directly affected by the partial federal government shutdown, including nearly 50,000 with disabilities, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported, This figure is nationwide, not only in Hawaii.

The biggest employers of veterans directly affected by the shutdown are the Department of Homeland Security, which employs more than 53,000 veterans; the Department of Justice, with more than 29,000; and the Department of Transportation, with more than 20,000, the newspaper said, citing data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (

Those three departments are among nine (of 15) for which funding lapsed Dec. 22, triggering the shutdown that has left 800,000 federal employees either off the job or forced to work without pay for the duration of the budget impasse, which centers on President Donald Trump's demand for $5.6 billion to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Other departments that employ many veterans -- such as the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs -- are not affected because their budgets are separate from the appropriations bill at the center of the dispute.

Veterans comprise a disproportionate percentage of the federal workforce, accounting for less than 10 percent of the U.S. adult popula- tion but 31 percent of all federal employees, or more than 635,000 employees, Stars and Stripes reported.

The number working for the federal government has risen 5 percent since 2009, when then-President Barack Obama ordered a hiring boost via the Veterans Employment Initiative (

Q: Which departments are shut down and which aren't?

A: Funding lapsed for the departments of Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, State, Transportation, Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development. They are considered "shut down," although many employees must report to work as usual, without being paid for the duration of the impasse. The departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Education and Labor are not part of the shutdown.


The left turn off King Street on to McCully is an accident waiting to happen. The automobile turn lane is incompatible with the straight-ahead bicycle lane on its left. It is difficult for car drivers to see cyclists coming from behind while waiting to make the turn in a car. And for a cyclist to race straight ahead while a car is turning left is dangerous, to say the least. I'm all for bicycles, but some of the riders seem to feel very entitled. -- Hank Chapin


Being local I rarely venture into Waikiki and was embarrassed to be unfamiliar with a hotel elevator's (new?) security system. I was visiting a friend who had arrived from the mainland. She was resting in her room. I thought I could go right up, but no, not without the key code. We mock the tourists sometimes but it was a tourist who helped me! -- A reader


Many thanks to all the good-hearted folks who rushed to my aid after I took a tumble outside the Honolulu Museum of Art on Tuesday . I appreciate the compresses, towels, concern, good advice and your assistance in getting me safely to Straub Emergency. All of the staff there were extremely caring, proficient and cheerful. My day ended with some unexpected stitches, bumps and bruises, but I am very grateful to everyone I encountered for your many kindnesses and kokua! -- Tumble-ina


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email



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