Angry Obama orders GI death benefits restored
By Dave Boyer
The Washington Times
Updated: 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A “very disturbed” President Obama has ordered his top aides to restore death benefits today for families of military service members killed in action.
“The president was very disturbed to learn of this problem,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “The president expects this to be fixed today. He was not pleased.”
The payments have been suspended as a result of the partial government shutdown. GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner blasted the administration and the Pentagon, saying Congress gave the authority to pay such bills in a law passed just before the partial government shut down on Oct. 1.
Mr. Carney said the Defense Department informed Congress about the potential problem before the shutdown, and “unfortunately” the legislation didn’t specifically address death benefits.
Mr. Carney said he didn’t know when the president learned of the problem. The White House tried to blame congressional Republicans for the lapse.
“The Department of Defense informed Congress that the department would be legally unable to pay death benefits were there to be a lapse in DOD appropriations — in other words, informed Congress prior to the lapse that that would be the case if there were to be a lapse,” Mr. Carney said. “Unfortunately, this issue was not explicitly addressed as part of the Pay Our Military Act.”
Asked why the president didn’t make sure that the issue was addressed in the act, Mr. Carney replied, “The Republicans shut the government down. None of this would be an issue if the government were open, OK?”