Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee made the following statement on the provision of death benefits to families of fallen troops during the government shutdown.
"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."
Last week, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel wrote to Secretary Hagel seeking clarification on what pay and allowances from DoD's own comprehensive list would be permitted under the Pay Our Military Act.