It must be noted that while Democrats and some in the media are trying to blame Republicans for this outrage, Congress passed a bill last week to fund the military and those benefits should have been paid under that. This is Shut-Down Theater at its most gut-wrenching and shameful.
Yesterday, Senator Cruz took to the Senate floor to register his disgust not only with this deplorable tactic, but with the way the DoD chose to notify the families of the fallen soldiers who were affected.
Cruz said, “the way this announcement was made was highly troubling… The DOD notified our military families via Twitter that those service members who die in battle will not be paid their tax free death gratuities due to the partial federal government shut down.
This is yet another pattern we have seen distressingly from the Obama administration of politicizing the shutdown and playing partisan games to maximize the pain that is inflicted on Americans it is part and partial of the pattern we’ve seen barricading the WWII memorial, barricading the parking lot at Mt Vernon George Washington’s home even though it’s privately operated, barricading the roads leading to Mt Rushmore even though they’re state roads and not federal roads.”
And he went on to note that “the actions by the DoD are also contrary to the statute this body just passed. The Military Death Gratuity is by statute a pay and personnel benefit, and accordingly it is clearly funded by public law 113-39 the Pay Our Military Act that was passed in a bipartisan manner this week. We’ve already acted to prevent this and unfortunately, the DoD is declining to follow that law that we passed.”
Arguing that our veterans should be beyond partisan politics regardless of the shutdown, he again asked for unanimous consent for the Senate to consider HJ Res 72 to make continuing appropriations for veterans benefits. Reid shot down his motion, saying”our position is simple. Open the government, pay our bills, and then we’ll be happy to negotiate about anything.”
The text of the Pay Our Military Act, which was passed October 1, can be viewed here.
Jim Geraghty at NRO’s Campaign Spot has more on this: House: We Authorized the Death Gratuity. Why Won’t They Pay It?