Adding to the list of things not being done by the federal government during the government shutdown, the Pentagon has released a statement that it does not have the "authority" to authorize death benefits for service members killed during this time period.
All of the leaders noted that despite the recall of most civilians, and the resumption of many activities across the Department of Defense, there are critical programs and benefits that remain halted. For example, the department does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action – typically a cash payment of $100,000 paid within three days of the death of a service member. In addition, emergency funding that supports commanders on the ground and intelligence activities remains unavailable. Service leaders also reported that because of the shutdown, they are curtailing training for later deploying units – an activity that has already been reduced due to sequestration.
Blame who you will for the current governmental shutdown, but for service members to be denied death benefits, for the families of those service members to have stress added upon them unnecessarily, because two groups of people cannot come to terms, compromise with each other, and come to agreements over what amounts to little more than individuals being worried about their legacies over serving the public they were elected to represent, is reprehensible.
It is of little wonder that our founding fathers warned us against political party systems.
To our legislative bodies: fix this mess.
Sic vis pacem parabellum.
Update: A private charity has stepped up to the plate to do what our government can't/won't do during the shutdown period.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday families of troops who die during the government shutdown will receive a death benefit payment, despite legal restrictions on the Pentagon, thanks to a deal reached with a private charity.