Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) voted in favor of legislation that would restore the payment of survivor benefits to families of fallen service members that President Barack Obama has stopped during the government shutdown. H.J.Res. 91, the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act, provides specific funding for items such as death gratuities; transportation, funeral, and burial costs; and temporary housing allowances for dependents. Although Congressman Jones believes that the Pay Our Military Act -- passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Obama last week -- already provided funding for these benefits, the Obama administration has interpreted the law in an unreasonably narrow way and prevented families from receiving their payments.
"When our brave service members are killed in action, their loved ones should not have to worry about finding money to cover the cost of transporting the body and paying for funeral arrangements," said Congressman Jones. "For the administration to refuse to pay these survivor benefits is simply outrageous. Somehow, during the shutdown, the president has found money to arm the Syrian rebels and to continue negotiations on an agreement to obligate thousands of U.S. troops and billions of American tax dollars to Afghanistan for the next 10 years, but he will not make lawful payments to the families of Americans who gave their lives in service to our country. This is absolutely shameful."
H.J.Res. 91 passed the House with unanimous support and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.