In response to reports late today of a delay in benefits for families of fallen troops during a government shutdown, Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-08) introduced H.R. 1469, the "Honor Our Fallen Heroes Act," legislation to ensure that military families will encounter no delay in the event of a death of a loved one while serving.
"This is absolutely shameful," said Kissell. "It is shameful that the partisan bickering in Washington might result in the family of a fallen hero not getting the death benefits that should rightly go to them. Their families should not be subjected to the bureaucracy of Washington during their time of immense sorrow. I cannot stand by and allow the ultimate sacrifice that these brave men and women have made to be ignored. I call on House leadership to pass this bill immediately to ensure that we do not allow such an absolute tragedy to occur. Those coping with the loss of a loved one in the fight for the very freedoms that allow our government to exist, deserve a government that works and delivers every benefit they are owed, without delay."
Pentagon officials said today that families of fallen soldiers would receive the benefits eventually, after the government re-opens, but many may face problems paying expenses, including funeral and travel costs.
The "Honor Our Fallen Heroes Act" would ensure that benefits would be guaranteed in the event of any government shutdown, now and in the future. The bipartisan bill gained the support of over 90 of Kissell's colleagues within the first hour of its introduction.