The House of Representatives is set to pass a bill on Wednesday that would restore funding to pay death benefits to U.S. troops killed in service despite the government shutdown. According to an Oct. 9 article on NBC NEWS, the bill entitled Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act is expected to pass unanimously in the House. Although the timeframe is uncertain, it is expected to also pass through the Senate and receive President Barack Obama’s fast attention.
The Pentagon announced Tuesday that they could not pay the customary death benefits to the families of troops killed in Afghanistan over the weekend, according to an Oct. 9 report on Fox News. Although the Pentagon claimed that the White House Office of Management and Budget had forbidden them to process benefit payments until after the shutdown ends, Speaker John Boehner claimed the troops bill already passed should have provided the necessary authority "to pay all kinds of bills, including this."
United States servicemen and women enter the service of their country with the clear understanding that their families will be taken care of in the event they are slain on the battlefield. When this situation became public, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were shocked and spurred to action.
It is unclear at this time if the actual funding was already appropriated through the previous bill that paid the troops or not. Hopefully, this was not a political move by either side to draw attention to the government shutdown. If so, this is despicable.
Families of the fallen heroes were even being required to pay their own transportation to Dover Air Force Base to receive their loved ones’ bodies. The Pentagon passed the buck to the White House Office of Management and Budget. It seems that the Pentagon should have been beating down the doors of Congress to be sure that they kept faith with their troops and their families.
As the saying goes, "Some gave all...." Hopefully, it won't be said that in return their country gave them nothing at all that was promised.
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