WASHINGTON — Families of fallen troops will be assured of receiving death benefits under legislation President Barack Obama signed Thursday amid a national firestorm over the payments being suspended during the partial government shutdown.
Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said Thursday the measure was unnecessary because a military charity stepped in to continue the payments during the shutdown. The Pentagon said the lapse in funding meant it had no authority to continue the payments, but that explanation did not sit well with members of Congress in either party.
The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a service member’s death. Twenty-nine service members have died during active duty since Oct. 1, when parts of the government closed.