UPDATE: House Passes Bill To Restore Death Benefits

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

UPDATE:

The partial government shutdown has halted death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers, but the House has now voted unanimously for legislation that would restore those benefits.

It's unclear if the Democratic-led Senate will take up the bill, which the House passed by a 425-0 vote.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a soldier's death. But it says the shutdown means there's no authority now to pay the money.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has blamed the Obama administration for withholding the payments. But White House spokesman Jay Carney says Republicans are at fault for shutting down the government.

Carney says President Barack Obama was "disturbed" to learn of the problem and that the administration hoped to find a solution Wednesday.


Previous story:

The White House expects a solution to be found Wednesday to military death benefit payments denied because of the government shutdown.

Payments of $100,000 typically are issued within three days of a service member's death. But the shutdown and lapse in funding meant the department didn't have authority to continue the payments.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says President Barack Obama was "disturbed" to learn of the problem and directed the Defense Department and White House officials to find a solution. Carney says a solution is expected Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner blasted the administration for withholding the payments. He said Congress gave the Pentagon authority to continue payments in a law Obama signed before the Oct. 1 shutdown.

Carney says the law did not explicitly address death benefits.


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