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article imageHouse approves giving benefits to family of fallen soldiers

By Mike White     Oct 9, 2013 in Politics
The United States House of Representatives voted 425-0 Wednesday to give death benefits to the family members of fallen soldiers. The measure was necessary because of the partial government shutdown.
NBC reported the family members had been promised the money, but it had never been given because of the shutdown.
The legislation will ensure that travel and funeral costs funeral and travel costs will be restored as the government shutdown continues.
The White House has announced it has told its lawyers to work with the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon to provide a solution without legislative action. A solution is expected by the end of the day Wednesday, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"The president expects this to be fixed today," Carney commented.
According to the NBC article, Wednesday's House vote could start in motion a fast-track process to solve the issue. It is not certain if the legislation or presidential action will be the solution for the problem.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters said it is certain the benefits will be restored. He noted the president is working on the issue and said he will see what the House does.
The bill was named the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act. It was quickly drafted after several NBC News reports during the past two days about the military’s delay of the $100,000 payments or “death gratuities” for the families of fallen soldiers.
Numerous Congressmen and women were surprised to learn families of fallen soldiers had not been given the benefit because they had passed legislation, which President Obama signed before the shutdown that authorized the benefits to be paid during the shutdown. Some believed the law was misinterpreted when the payments were not made.
Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), the Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the Armed Service Committee, asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a letter why the Death Gratuity was had not been paid.
ABC reported even though the bill was approved unanimously, there was still controversy.
Democrats demanded the entire government be reopened. It is unknown when the Democrat-led Senate will consider the bill. The Pentagon usually pays the $100,000 within three days of a soldier's death.
Fox News reported the same day the measure was considered by the House that the head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars criticized the White House and Congress after the suspension of death benefits.
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