Senate votes for death benefit

| October 10, 2013

One of our ninjas send us a link to CNN which reports that the Senate has voted to approve the death benefit for troops’ families that need it;

The move came at the insistence of Republican senators who said they wanted a legislative fix to fund the benefits despite a plan finalized by the Obama administration Wednesday to have a private charity–Fisher House–cover the cost of the benefits until the government shutdown is resolved.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the push by Republicans was “unnecessary” because benefits were now flowing, but he said he would not block a unanimous consent agreement proposed by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican.

“This issue is largely moot. It’s clear the action on this legislation is just for show,” Reid said.

Yeah, it was moot earlier when Congress approved paying the entire Pays and Allowances Table, which included the death benefit, but the partisan Department of Defense decided not to pay it in order to make an issue that didn’t exist and then the White House could swoop in and save the day by making Fisher house pay the benefit. Of course, Fisher House wouldn’t be reimbursed unless Congress had authorized the payments – which they did in the original bill that was passed earlier this week.

I guess everyone gets a chance to act like they’re doing something to fix a problem that didn’t really exist. But, at least, Hagel can’t hide now.

In other stupid news, “Tears” Boehner has announced that he’s ready to cave in to the president on the debt ceiling;

After meeting with his caucus, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans want substantive talks with President Barack Obama and Democrats on reducing the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt in return for removing the immediate threat of default.

Sources said the House GOP measure would extend the debt ceiling until November 22.

Boehner said the proposal that could be voted on by the House as soon as Friday would offer the temporary increase in the debt ceiling.

So we can through all of this shit again over Thanksgiving. Yay!

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Congress sucks

Comments (24)

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  1. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    November 22 you say? 50 years ago to the day that that JFK was shot in Dealey Plaza. Coincidence? I think not.

  2. CC Senor says:

    But Hagel was qualified to be SecDef because he was a Staff Sergeant in Viet Nam and had a Purple Heart to boot. Don’t recall anyone mentioning brains, though.

  3. NHSparky says:

    Holy crap. They did their jobs. And it only took them a week, but everyone is still blaming the other side. FML.

  4. OWB says:

    Double dog dare ya to veto this bill, you sorry sob.

  5. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Words matter. Why is it called a debt ceiling when it’s actually a hole? They want to extend the depth of the hole we, our children, and their children are in.

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    At least, they’re all blaming each other, Sparky.

  7. RunPatRun says:

    I’m so tired of the political gaming and media reporting of the shutdown. And the people with blinders on. Oh, and the kool aid drinkers. argh

  8. PintoNag says:

    What Air Cav said at #5.

  9. Spade says:

    The fact that DoD decided the previous bill didn’t apply to death benefits just shows that hagel and flag officers are willing to play political games with dead soldiers. The fact that somebody’s stars didn’t hit Hagel’s desk over that decision really shows the quality of today’s flag officers.

  10. OWB says:

    How many times have the Reps capitulated? It’s always, “Well, OK. We’ll give in just this once if you guys promise to talk about reducing the debt after we give you what you wanted all along.” Rinse, repeat.

  11. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @9. Yeah, he not only could have fixed it yesterday, it was his adminitsration that created the abomination in the first place. He has directed the legal beagles at OMB to fix it. The issue has always been how one construes the relevant law. He is NOW willing to construe it as it could have been construed to prevent this in the first place. He is a weasel. The current bill at least would prevent further weaselhood on this particular sin–denying death benefits to beneficiaries of the Fallen. I cannot say this strongly enough: This was altogether a-freakin-voidable if The Emperor had so directed his court.

  12. DaveO says:

    Larger picture: senior, mid- and low-level civil servants were aware of the law, were aware of the impacts of not following the law, and said nothing.

    Civil servants stopped those death payments, those paychecks. They’ll be rewarded with backpay, so they lost nothing and got their winterizing chore list done.

    We can rail against Congress, Bodaprez, the SCOTUS, but at the end of the day, a very highly partisan civil service administered the furlough, the pain, homeowners forced from their home and businesses shut down. None of those people will ever face accountability, and when a Republican takes over the White House, will slow roll his or her programs.

  13. AW1Ed says:

    @9 Saw this John. My head exploded. The arrogant dismissal of the families of the fallen is far beyond despicable. More word fail me…

  14. NHSparky says:

    DaveO–correct. All the more reason why government employees need to have any and all union protections ripped most ricky-tick.

    Even FDR knew that unionizing public employees was a step that shouldn’t be taken, but JFK didn’t and allowed it.

  15. 11B3H says:

    I’m a Federal employee, and we have been operating in this ‘crisis’ mode of not providing the amenities at our campgrounds that the public has paid for.

    My managers claimed it was due to the sequestration, and that is what they told the public when I encouraged them them to call in and complain. I gave out my District mangers direct/ non-published phone number for this.

    I told my managers before we open for the season that I could get these amenities in place as usual with my drastically reduced staffing. I was told to not do the work, “Make them feel it too”.

  16. DaveO says:

    #15 NHSparky,

    I’ve read of a push to return to the Spoils System: politicos won’t give so much power to bureaucrats if those people are swapped out every 4-8 years.

    As it stands, the current system is a jobs program favoring Dems.

  17. TN says:

    I see Boehner’s move a tad different Jonn. Boehner removed Obama from the (perception) of a moral highground. Obama now has NO excuse for not negotiating.

    They have 6 weeks to come to a solution. Period. When Obama squanders 5 of those weeks (as he has the last 5 years), the people will have no choice but to notice.

    But let’s look at another alternative: Obama and Reid reject the 6 week proposal. Then they demonstrate that they truly are seeking a govt shutdown, as the House has been saying.

    Boehner has the high ground, for the moment.

    As to the other: yeah, Hagel, Reid, and Obama are precisely as despicable as any on here have suggested.

  18. RunPatRun says:

    The way I see it, suspending the benefit was another pure political decision. Robert Hale, the Comptroller, is the same hack who shut off TA during the 7.8% sequestration cuts to make the Republicans look bad. Now he creates this mess to try and make the Republicans look bad (again). He previously was in the Clinton Administration and is an Obama appointee to this current job. Pretty sad, but not surprised.

  19. CarlS says:

    When the time comes to vote again, or if I am ever called up to again offer my life in the service of this country, I’m going to remember this. As will my Brothers & Sisters In Arms . . . betyerass on that, Mr. Commander-in-Chief (hah!) and SecDef Hagel. Never thought I’d be subject to Friendly Fire back in CONUS.

  20. Mickey GSM says:

    and in my book all of them in DC and go to hell. We need all new people there.

  21. USMCE8Ret says:

    The way I understand this went down was the benefits were in the proposed legislation, but Pentagon attorney’s weren’t certain of the provisions. When they asked a WH lackey, they were told not to pay the benefits (hence Jay Carney’s avoiding to answer the question whether the WH knew about this or not, thus to save the administration further embarassment). As Jonn mentions in #9, the President says he’ll take care of it.

    How? He can’t sign an Executive Order to approve funds that can only be appropriated by public law. That’s unconstitutional and an impeachable offense.

    IMO, they need to get the attorney’s on board and have them actually read the legislation, approve the payments, and, if there’s truth someone in the WH told DoD not to pay, someone’s head needs to roll.

  22. OWB says:

    Evidently it has now been signed.

  23. MGySgtRet. says:

    Despicable does not do these assholes justice. They have used our noble war dead as political bargaining chips. I find both sides of the aisle guilty in this. The Democrats and their allies just don’t give a shit while the Republicans are at least willing to pay lip service to doing the right thing (though they probably don’t give a shit either). Thank God for the Fisher House for making money available to the families of our war dead. Once again proving that government is not the answer for anything any more.