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Pentagon Freeze On Death Benefits Sparks Outrage

Senators are expressing outrage that families of fallen U.S. military personnel are being denied death benefits while Democrats and Republicans grope for a way to end the partial government shutdown.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of the death of a member of the armed forces. But it 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."

That includes the family of 19-year-old Camp Lejeune Marine Lance Corporal Jeremiah Collins.

Sen. John McCain says it explains why Congress has historically low approval ratings. McCain asks, "Shouldn't we be ashamed?"

And fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says his message to the families is, quote, "Your government has let you down in a time of your need."

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers says Republicans are drafting legislation that would restore the money.

The bill could be on the floor as early as Tuesday night but is more likely to happen Wednesday.


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