Veterans protest sequestration outside VA hospital

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)It's a budget battle that some fear could have a harmful and lasting impact on veterans. On Wednesday, local citizens, including veterans, took part in a demonstration outside the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston.

"We're here protesting sequestration as a whole because it's just the wrong way to go about things," said Delmar Davis, who retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving more than 40 years.

Protesters called for Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to end the current sequestration.

"Step up. Be adults. Work together with the rest of Congress," said Davis.

Organizers of Wednesday's event say sequestration is resulting in the loss of approximately 750,000 jobs nationwide. Its impact on South Carolina is approximately $82.8 million in cuts to non-defense funding.

While the Department of Veterans Affairs is not at risk, veterans programs through the Department of Labor could suffer from these cuts.

"There's a lot of corporations that aren't paying taxes. We need to take a look at waste. We need to look at our tax code," said Erin McKee with the Charleston Labor Council.

McKee says those special programs help returning veterans find new employment and make the transition back to civilian life.

She says South Carolina ranks high in number of veterans -- over 400,000 and still growing -- and over $900,000 in cuts to all federally-funded employment services in the state result from the sequestration.

Sequestration went into effect on March 1.

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