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Public Statements

Death Benefits

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, last week before the shutdown, this House overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide for our military in case of a government shutdown. We voted to provide them not only pay, but benefits for themselves and their families. Now the President's lawyers at the Department of Defense are blocking death gratuities to the families of those who've made the ultimate sacrifice.

Families of soldiers killed in battle are being victimized by the Department of Defense. It's outrageous. Today, Congress will act again to make our wishes even more clear. The President is the Commander in Chief. He should not be using troops and their families as pawns in this political bickering. He should be doing everything he can to stand up for the men and women of our military. Instead, he is refusing to negotiate until he gets his way. He is violating the trust between himself as Commander in Chief and the troops and destroying their morale.

Divided government is hard, but it's what the people have given us. It requires negotiation and compromise. Let's provide for our troops and their families. Let's sit down and talk, and let's get the whole government reopened.

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