House votes to restore military death benefits

(CNN) -- The U.S. House voted unanimously Wednesday to resume paying survivor benefits to the families of slain troops. The benefits, which include a $100,000 payment, had been suspended because of the government shutdown.

Shortly before the House vote, President Barack Obama ordered administration officials to move quickly to find a way to resolve the situation, his spokesman said.

"The president was very disturbed to learn of this problem, and he directed the Department of Defense to work with the Office of Management and Budget and his lawyers to develop a possible solution, and he expects this to be fixed today," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Funeral and burial reimbursements are also included. So is a gratuity for travel to funeral or memorial services -- or to be at Dover Air Force Base, where remains of the fallen typically go.

Carney said the payments were not specifically addressed in legislation to ensure military personnel would be paid during any shutdown. He did not elaborate on what the solution might be.

It's unclear exactly when Obama learned of the situation, which reporters were briefed about four days before the shutdown began. At the briefing Wednesday, Carney refused to say when the president learned benefits were being delayed.

"I don't know specifically," he said.

On September 27, Pentagon comptroller Bob Hale told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that death gratuities would be one of the things held up by a shutdown.

 

 


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