GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN HALTS STANDARD DEATH PAYOUTS
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 8, 2013) — In a press release on Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee stated that the $100,000 death benefit customarily paid to survivors of soldiers, airmen, Marines and seamen killed in service to their country was expected to be included in the measure passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by Obama last week.
The specific appropriations bill indicated that military members were to be paid during the partial government shutdown, contradicting Obama’s prediction the week before that military pay would be delayed or halted.
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that death benefits had been suspended as a result of the shutdown, which has affected approximately 17% of government departments.
In the Armed Services Committee statement, Chairman Buck McKeon said, in part:
“Last week Congress unanimously passed the Pay Our Military Act with the express intent that all military pay and allowances would be dispersed during a government shutdown. Judging by the Department of Defense’s own summary of those programs, we believed that ‘death gratuities’ would continue to go to the families of those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Without question, that was our clear intent. However, we can never let the welfare of our troops and their families become pawns in a political contest. If the Pentagon believes they need more explicit authority to disburse these payments, I am sure the House will provide it in very short order.
On October 4, Rep. Joe Wilson, Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking that he expedite his “legal review” and a list of items deemed non-payable. Wilson’s letter included a list of retention and other financial payments made to military members which included the $100,000 death benefit payment.
Hagel was nominated by Obama to serve after the resignation of Leon Panetta.
Since the shutdown, the White House, now called by some the “SpiteHouse,” has ordered national parks and monuments to close; to apparently threaten foreign visitors at gunpoint; to cease operation of the national Amber Alert center (now restored); to stop research into juvenile cancer treatment; and for remaining government employees to “make life difficult” for Americans.
Tours of the White House have been closed since the March 1, 2013 sequester began, which also affected the U.S. military and defense contractors.
As of press time, CBS has reported that the House will vote on a bill to clarify that death and funeral benefits will be disbursed during the shutdown.
There have been questions and doubts as to Obama’s eligibility to serve as chief executive since late 2007, but Congress, the courts, the Electoral College, governors, state legislatures, election commissions, the media, and the people themselves ignored them. Article II of the U.S. Constitution requires that the president be a “natural born Citizen” to avoid foreign influence, but Obama claims a father who was never an American citizen and dual citizenship at birth. Obama’s documentation has also proven to be fraudulent.
A former member of the military and outstanding flight surgeon spent five months in Ft. Leavenworth after asking that Obama prove he was eligible, during which time the fraudulent “long-form” birth certificate was posted on the now-dark White House website.
Another constitutional crisis looms as Obama has threatened not to negotiate on whether or not the debt ceiling will be raised before October 17, when the government will need more appropriations to pay the interest on its $17 trillion debt and other expenditures. If agreement is not reached, the U.S. may default on its debt.
Obama said he refused to negotiate on his health care bill, which was the catalyst for the government shutdown.