Disgrace: Shutdown preventing payment of “death gratuity” to families of fallen troops

posted at 6:41 pm on October 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

A travesty, needless to say, although it appears to be more the result of a drafting error than any sort of oversight or deliberate snub. Remember, the one exception to the Democrats’ rule about not agreeing to small GOP funding bills targeted at individual departments is the military. Congress passed a bill on the eve of the shutdown to make sure that troops continued to get paid. Per Blackfive, House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon issued a statement saying that he thought the bill covered all sorts of military payments, including the roughly $100,000 “death gratuity” paid to the family of a fallen soldier. Quote: “Without question, that was our clear intent.” And no doubt it was. Why on earth would they agree to pay troops in the field but not the bereaved families of the fallen? If they’re terrified of the politics of American soldiers going unpaid, imagine their terror at the thought of wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and above all children being left momentarily broke due to a soldier being killed in action.

The Pentagon studied the law, though, and decided that no, it doesn’t cover the “death gratuity,” nor reimbursement for family members to fly to Dover AFB to retrieve their loved one’s body. Right now, all of that’s on hold. Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea. But here we are:

“It is upsetting because my husband died for his country, and now his family is left to worry,” said Ashley Peters of Springfield, Mo., whose husband, Jeremy, was a special agent assigned to the Army’s 5th Military Police Battalion and was among the five killed. “My husband always said if something happened to him we would be taken care of.”…

“If Congress were trapped in a car that sunk down in a river, I would swim to the window, and I would look them all in the eye and say, ‘Suck water,’” said Randall Patterson, the father of Private [Cody] Patterson. The father used an expletive to characterize members of Congress who “are still getting paid.”…

The mother and brother of Peters, the special agent from the 5th Military Police Battalion, said that they were too upset to talk. His step-grandfather, Peters Jerry, said that the sergeant was getting out of the military after this tour, so that he could be home more with his 20-month-old son.

“It will be devastating,” Jerry said of the delay in the death gratuity. He said that he blamed Republicans and the Tea Party…

Also suspended is a year’s worth of housing allowance, typically paid in a lump sum to the surviving spouse or dependent children of a soldier. For a sergeant in the Washington area with dependents, it amounts to more than $2,000 per month.

At least one military charity has stepped into the breach to cover the costs of airfare to Dover while they’re waiting for Congress to get its act together. Blackfive notes that Pfc. Cody Patterson’s family in particular is in “severe financial distress” and has links up to several charities where you can donate. This will, though, hopefully all be resolved by this time tomorrow; given the media attention to the “death gratuity” lapsing and the understandable public horror over it, House members are already putting together a new funding bill. Presumably it’ll be passed through the lower chamber tonight and the Senate tomorrow. If it isn’t, someone will have to answer.

Here’s video from Congress of members shocked that it’s come to this, including a few seconds of McCain — who, despite McKeon’s apparent good faith and the House’s attempt to solve the problem ASAP, naturally appears to be blaming Republicans for causing the shutdown to begin with.

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The Spite House strategy is a loser…

d1carter on October 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

get one of the family members to go on Fox railing against the obama administration.

make a big stink out of.

the left would.
the gop be stupid.

renalin on October 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

I strongly doubt anyone on this thread has donated more to the military charities than yours truly. We also adopt entire platoons for X-Mas. It’s very expensive and time consuming.

I’m a Tea Partier, Makers Mark drinker, libtard hating American fed up with the Democrat shenanigans.

This administration is disgusting.

patman77 on October 8, 2013 at 6:47 PM

This President will do ANYTHING……he is lawless.

But we must fight or it will become HIS America…….not ours!!!

I just wish the gop leadership actually BELIEVED in OUR America.

PappyD61 on October 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

We should let them control our healthcare.

rogerb on October 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

If we bump off enough vulnerable Democrats to pull out 51-49 control of the Senate, what’s the over/under on how long before McCain bolts the party to hand control right back to Dingy? That left-wing idiot can’t retire soon enough. RINO is too generous of a term for him.

Gingotts on October 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Disgrace: Shutdown Obama administration preventing payment of “death gratuity” to families of fallen troops

FIFY.

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea.

Yes, you do.

BTW, this isn’t the first time during the shutdown that The Pentagon has read the law ‘too narrowly,’ as Chuck Hagel admitted on Saturday when he recalled 400,000 furloughed civilian workers.

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

The Pentagon studied the law, though, and decided that no, it doesn’t cover the “death gratuity,”

Should read, “The Pentagon got a call from Obama….”

JellyToast on October 8, 2013 at 6:50 PM

President Stompy Foot knows where the pain buttons are and he is pushing them…

d1carter on October 8, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea.

Because they’re disgusting. And Mccain too.

the_nile on October 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

How much loner will we, the people of the United States, tolerate this insult in the WhSpite House?

HBowmanMD on October 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Obama is a despicable tyrant. He could have paid these benefits but elected not to just to make a petty political point.

rplat on October 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Obama.

*spite*

McCain.

*spit*

Fallon on October 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM

The ABC radio “Top of the Hour” news mentioned this, but then added, “while at the same time the House gym and heated pool remain open”. Of course they didn’t mention that Camp David is still open as well.

Katja on October 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

WAIT!

Where’s the liberals like Bayam to scream with outrage over this?

I mean could you frickin imagine if someone like Bush did something like this. Their frickin heads would explode.

melle1228 on October 8, 2013 at 6:57 PM

The ABC radio “Top of the Hour” news mentioned this, but then added, “while at the same time the House gym and heated pool remain open”. Of course they didn’t mention that Camp David is still open as well.

Katja on October 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

So is the military golf course where he plays.

melle1228 on October 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Fallon on October 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM

love it!

renalin on October 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Well.. the one thing I’ve learned from all of this. It’s worse than I thought. The number of law enforcement people (and from the Park Rangers, no less) that are happy and willing to follow draconian orders against the American people is astonishing. For a law enforcement officer to even admit “We’ve been told to make people’s lives as miserable as possible!” and go right on doing it, is really pretty sad.

Yes.. that’s what we pay these people with tax dollars for.. to make our lives miserable. If they took an oath.. it must’ve read “I swear to make American’s lives miserable and to follow all orders given me regardless of how illegal they may be.”

JellyToast on October 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

The Guardian: Democrats Won’t Win A ‘Blame The GOP’ Game On The Shutdown And Debt Ceiling

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Proof they already lost: no real attempt at doing so – and only hardly a mention of anything even slightly related – in the first 10 minutes of Sawyer’s evening news tonight.

Started with a faux story about people getting diarrhea eating out, then 20 seconds of awkwardly trying to connect that to the shutdown and after that briefest of nods on to important news, like Tom Hanks has diabetes.

We all know by now that if a perfectly valid news story gets complete radio silence from the MSM, then there’s nothing good in it for the left. They didn’t even bother with the king’s latest lies and demagoguery over it… clearly the public isn’t buying that.

Gingotts on October 8, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Seriously AP, fix your headline to reflect the truth! The shutdown did not do anything. Bureaucrats in the Pentagon (basically the administration) is preventing this!

Why are you pushing liberal talking points. That headline is a disgrace.

Pattosensei on October 8, 2013 at 7:02 PM

The Guardian: Democrats Won’t Win A ‘Blame The GOP’ Game On The Shutdown And Debt Ceiling

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Everything is the GOP fault. Even Obamacare.

mrscullen on October 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Obama is even pissing off democrats…notice I said democrats, the Marxists and Socialists love it.
They feel that lust for power and cutting off money to soldiers widows and arresting old soldiers at the Vietnam memorial makes them lust for more…….

redguy on October 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Seriously AP, fix your headline to reflect the truth! The shutdown did not do anything. Bureaucrats in the Pentagon (basically the administration) is preventing this!

Why are you pushing liberal talking points. That headline is a disgrace.

Pattosensei on October 8, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Yup.

Pentagon harassing grieving families for a spiteful pr stunt.

Pentagon goes Westboro.

the_nile on October 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Just in case you weren’t angry enough about the delay in making these well-deserved payments to military families….

Look how Congress takes care of the widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D – NJ)

WASHINGTON — The $1.1 trillion stopgap spending resolution being debated by Congress also includes a line item to benefit the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Section 135 of the bill gives a one-time payment to Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg of $174,000, which is equivalent to a year’s salary for a senator.

The widows’ payments are part of a long-standing and routine practice of Congress. But this payment is drawing scrutiny because of Lautenberg’s wealth: His estimated net worth was at least $56.8 million in 2012, making him the eighth-wealthiest member of Congress, according to Roll Call.

The provision was first included in the continuing resolution passed by the House last week, the first new spending bill to pass since Lautenberg’s death. The amended resolution being debated in the Senate retains the payment. By law, Congress must pass a new spending measure by next Monday or large parts of the federal government will shut down.

Congress has paid the funeral expenses of members who die in office since the 19th century, according to the Congressional Research Service. Today, the practice of inserting widows’ payments into the next appropriation bill is so routine it’s covered in the official Senate handbook.

Although most other federal spending is subject to across-the-board cuts under what’s become known as “sequestration,” Congress specifically exempted “payments to widows and heirs of deceased Members of Congress” under the 2011 budget deal that avoided a government shutdown.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/26/frank-lautenberg-widow-payment/2877049/

Imagine how much money American taxpayers could save if we stopped re-electing 80+ year olds to Congress.

wren on October 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon issued a statement saying that he thought the bill covered all sorts of military payments, including the roughly $100,000 “death gratuity” paid to the family of a fallen soldier.

The chairman of the ASC in the House “thought” that “all sorts” of military payments were included…? Didn’t he read it?

JetBoy on October 8, 2013 at 7:09 PM

WAIT!

Where’s the liberals like Bayam to scream with outrage over this?

I mean could you frickin imagine if someone like Bush did something like this. Their frickin heads would explode.

melle1228 on October 8, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Ugh, the media will blame the next conservative President for all the ills caused by Obummer.
It will take 60 years to dig out from the wreckage that Obama has created. And it is all intentional.

redguy on October 8, 2013 at 7:10 PM

A travesty, needless to say, although it appears to be more the result of a drafting error than any sort of oversight or deliberate snub.

From this administration, sorry to say but I automatically think “malice” before anything else.

Just donated $100 to the family and the moment I hit the submit payment button I said “F**k you Dog Eater”. I might send another hundo just so I can add a “F**k you too McCain”.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Disgrace: Shutdown preventing payment of “death gratuity” to families of fallen troops

Seriously, I amazed anyone would bother serving these days. Not only the dilly dallying around in Iraq and Afghanistan, but stuff like what seems to be cover-ups concerning the deaths of Pat Tillman and those SEAL Team 6 members…and now all this garbage.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea

Let me sell you a clue: President Stompy Foot.

socalcon on October 8, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea.

You’re kidding, right?

UnderstandingisPower on October 8, 2013 at 7:13 PM

WHO at the Pentagon made the INTERPRETATION?

Scratch ‘em deep enough, you’ll find a willing Obamabot.

GarandFan on October 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM

…WTF?…where’s the media
…oh that’s right…they’ll go to Senator Senile…for the Republican ‘viewpoint’ !

KOOLAID2 on October 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

THIS is how the lawless messiah treats aged veterans.

https://mobile.twitter.com/calebparke/status/387703470158929920/photo/1

PappyD61 on October 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Pic of the Day: What Could Possibly Go Wrong If We Put Our Healthcare In The Government’s Hands?

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Given what the current Resident has demonstrated since Sequester & Shutdown, the electorate should be terrified of what services JugEars will hold back between now and Jan 20, 2017– and what will be the ‘concession’.

Imagine then, the Terrorist-in-Chief may “compromise” to provide all enrollees with healthcare in exchange for rescission of the 22nd amendment (Presidential Term Limit).

socalcon on October 8, 2013 at 7:19 PM

We should let them control our healthcare.

rogerb on October 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Precisely. Well conceived and well stated.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea. But here we are:

Because the president said “…. make it as painful as possible.”

This is just about as painful as it gets.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

not o/t at all:
Venezuela’s Maduro demands enabling act allowing him to rule by decree

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM

FIFY

socalcon on October 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Obama better be nicer to the military. He will need them to protect him when the revolution comes.

Kaffa on October 8, 2013 at 7:26 PM

McCain.

*spit*

Fallon on October 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Would have expected *spittle*

socalcon on October 8, 2013 at 7:26 PM

What disgusting sacks o’ shit, just picking and choosing who they want to punish (our military and veterans) and who they want to help (illegal fu*cking immigrants on the Mall, today).

Makes me actually want to go to Hell when I die so I can meet up with each of these pigs, from Obama on down, and kick me some major ass!

TXUS on October 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM

The Pentagon studied the law, though, and decided that no, it doesn’t cover the “death gratuity,”

Should read, “The Pentagon got a call from Obama….”

JellyToast on October 8, 2013 at 6:50 PM

The simplest explanation that fits the known facts. Sounds like a candidate for Occam’s razor.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 7:32 PM

TXUS on October 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM

They’re not worth your soul, TXUS. They’re not even worth your sole.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:33 PM

They’re not worth your soul, TXUS. They’re not even worth your sole.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Thanks, just so pissed about this one, I cannot tell you how much. Not to worry, though, I’m not going to Hell. The Devil still has that testy restraining order against me.

TXUS on October 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM

And Republicans are getting the blame?

sandee on October 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM

So the Pentagon can magically decide that paying our troops means paying all of the civilian employees as well but it doesn’t mean paying death benefits to families of the fallen? I’m calling BS on that one. This is just another example of the Obama admin making people feel maximum pain.

jnelchef on October 8, 2013 at 7:39 PM

TXUS on October 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM

lol! Well played. :)

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Obama cannot be personally making all of these spitefull decisions. Clearly, Obama has surrounded himself with many people in many government offices that delight in inflicting as much pain and suffering onto people as they possible can.

Have we gone from ‘Spite House’ to ‘Sadist House’ yet?

Freddy on October 8, 2013 at 7:47 PM

The Corporation For Public Broadcasting got $445 million on the 1st day of the shutdown. That obviously takes priority over the troops.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/10/08/government-gives-445-million-to-corporation-for-public-broadcasting-on-first/

Wigglesworth on October 8, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Wigglesworth:

Big Bird is an ‘essential’ government employee.

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 7:56 PM

NBC is disgusting. They couldn’t get one the fallen’s immediate family to talk so they got his “step grandfather” to come out and blame the TEA Party. Really NBC? You’re going to quote someone’s step grandfather?

Wigglesworth on October 8, 2013 at 7:58 PM

Ah, the Democrats, doing what they do best, spitting on veterans and dead soldiers. There’s really no excuse for what’s happening here except the Democrats and the Obama Administration are playing a game to make things tough for certain groups of people. You can tell who they like and who they don’t like by who they play with. They’re playing with the military, the veterans and military families. That should tell you how much respect they have for those people..

bflat879 on October 8, 2013 at 8:04 PM

You’re going to quote someone’s step grandfather?

Wigglesworth on October 8, 2013 at 7:58 PM

They couldn’t find a relative that goes along with them.

Rio Linda Refugee on October 8, 2013 at 8:07 PM

NeverEnding Democrat Deception/Perception Operations!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Damn! It’s expensive to keep that golf course open!

WryTrvllr on October 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Why the Pentagon would read the law that exactingly given that Congress’s intent was clear and the fact that surely no one would have sued to block payment of the gratuities had they gone ahead with it, I have no idea.

You have no idea?? Really?

Attacking the troops and their families is one of Barky’s favorite gambits. It always has been. And Barky especially loves dancing on coffins.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Disgrace: Shutdown preventing payment of “death gratuity” to families of fallen troops

Maybe you should write your local republican and voice your displeasure that they shutdown the government over defunding a law that was passed by a majority of the house, majority of the senate, signed into law by the president and upheld by the supreme court. Also a law that 72% of the country doesn’t think the government should be shut down over.

Oh, wait. Hold on… this isn’t about Obamacare anymore, right? It’s about, what exactly?

Lowering the debt?

Or is it about compromise!?

Or, wait… it’s about… I don’t know, SOMETHING!

Why don’t you guys spend less time bitching about the ramifications of the shutdown YOU GUYS FORCED, and more time figuring out why exactly you did force the shutdown?

Or, better yet, let the house vote on a clean CR so all the terrible things you guys forced on the nation can cease!

Thanks in advance.

Tom_Shipley on October 8, 2013 at 9:00 PM

This is just about as painful as it gets.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

I have a feeling the real pain is yet to come. If we do not stop this despot our Republic is dead. He has his SA now and they’re well armed and willing to do his bidding no matter how heinous and vile. We’re just seeing the first tentative test steps.

Oldnuke on October 8, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Oldnuke on October 8, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Swiftly summons up the memory of Obama saying he wanted to create a ‘civilian army’ that was ‘equal to the military’.

Kind of brings new light to buying up all those hollow points and distributing them to agencies with no need for them.

thatsafactjack on October 8, 2013 at 9:49 PM

I’m sure the Federal Government will come through with the money soon enough, with interest and apologies.

(crickets… crickets…)

Marcola on October 9, 2013 at 12:37 AM

Communist,Racist,Muslim, Fraud, hates America and her military! Watch what he does, not what he says! AWOL during Benghazi, blame American video, attack Veterans at war memorials, honors Muslim holidays, persecutes Christians, wants to be Hitler in politics!Imagine what he will do to your health care if you are Christian, Straight, Republican, Veteran, white,southerner, etc. This man is a traitor, should be impeached or tried for treason, removed from office or shot depending on the verdict!

Marco on October 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Hagel needs to resign immediately for complete incompetence.

This did not have to happen. As soon as it popped up he could have gone to Obama and fixed the problem. He didn’t and he let it grew to be this huge issue.

GONE!

easyt65 on October 9, 2013 at 2:09 PM