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Talk radio's Bill Press says don't give military families death benefits during shutdown

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Liberal radio host Bill Press said Thursday that military families should not get a special exception from Congress so they can receive death benefits.

To do so would weaken resolve in the face of the Republicans during the government shutdown, he said.

On his daily radio program for the FSTV network, Press said: "What I’m going to say, no one else will say, but I’m going to say it anyway: I think it’s a big mistake to pay the death benefits to the families of members of the military who are killed in Afghanistan and whose bodies are being brought back to Dover Air Force base and were not going to get benefits because of the government shutdown."

Press added: "When you shut down the government, a lot of great things are not going to get done. And why should we make an exception for those that just happen to pop up and get a lot of media attention."

Funding those exceptions would allow the shutdown to continue, he said.

Throughout the government shutdown, House Republicans have passed bills to fund the more politically damaging elements of the closure.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has steadfastly refused to bring them to votes in the upper chamber, not wanting to lessen the impact of shutdown and relieve pressure on Republicans.

The House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to restore the military benefits. Reid has not yet said if he will take it up. UPDATE: The Senate passed the bill Thursday afternoon.

Reid has taken heat on the mini-funding bills. He chastised CNN reporter Dana Bash on Oct. 2 for asking why he was blocking a vote on a bill funding the National Institutes of Health.

"If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?" Bash asked.

The Democratic leader shot back: "Why would we want to do that?"

Reid explained to Press later that same day: "We can't fall into the trap, and here is the trap of the Cruz-led Republicans, and that is this: ‘Listen, we'll cherry-pick, we'll open this today and this tomorrow, and finally at the end, everything will be open except the money to finish Obamacare.'"

This is the second time this week Press got caught in an embarrassing situation. His opinion column Tuesday for The Hill directly contradicted the newspaper's front-page reporting.

Hat tip: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite

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