Pentagon Freezes Death Benefits Because Of Shutdown

WASHINGTON (October 8, 2013)—U.S. senators were expressing outrage Tuesday over the Pentagon’s suspension of the death benefits paid to families of fallen military personnel while Democrats and Republicans search for a way to end the partial government shutdown.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a service member’s death, but says the shutdown means there is no authority now to pay the money.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the lack of compensation for the families of five soldiers killed in Afghanistan this weekend is "appalling."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says it explains why Congress has historically low approval ratings.

"Shouldn't we be ashamed?" he asked.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said his message to the families is, "Your government has let you down in a time of your need."

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