Even though the partial-shutdown just ended, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are looking ahead at the next federal closure, which can happen as soon as mid-January. Fortunately, two congressmen are thinking about ways to prevent any future financial impasse from harming the military, the Navy Times reported.
According to the news source, Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Tom Rooney, R-Fla., introduced a bill that would ensure that the death gratuity benefits granted to the families of fallen servicemembers will remain intact during federal shutdowns. Death gratuity benefits are $100,000 cash payments wired to military families within 36 hours of a soldier's death in order to cover transportation, burial costs and other immediate financial needs. When the federal shutdown hit in early October, these benefits were canceled due to the lack of government funding.
The representatives' new bill, HR 3352, would provide permanent funding for the death benefits, the news source stated.
"We cannot allow political posturing in Congress or other efforts that force a government shutdown to prevent the flow of funds and other needed resources to families who have just lost a service member. We must honor our commitment, no matter what," Connolly said in a statement.