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POLITICS: PennAve

Fisher House to cover Pentagon death benefits during shutdown

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PennAve,Tim Mak,Military Budget,Chuck Hagel,Government Shutdown

The Pentagon accepted an offer from a military charity Wednesday to pay death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers until the government shutdown that was delaying those payments ends.

The Fisher House Foundation, which provides accommodations to veterans and military families receiving medical treatment, offered to cover the cost of death benefits normally afforded to the families of service members killed in the line of duty.

Typically, the Department of Defense provides a $100,000 payment to families within three days of a soldier's passing.

The Pentagon will reimburse the organization after the government shutdown ends, a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner.

Widespread public outrage ensued this week when it was realized that death benefits would not be provided during a government shutdown, now in its ninth day. On Wednesday, the House voted unanimously to restore these payments.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel blamed the shutdown for the delay in paying death benefits, insisting the Pentagon lacked the budget authority to pay the benefits on its own.

"I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner," Hagel said in a statement. "The department has no higher priority than taking care of our service members and their families."

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