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Senate Passes Bill to Restore Death Gratuity for Military Families

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate passed the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act, which restores payments of the death gratuity for families of fallen soldiers, by unanimous consent Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense announced it was able to restore the payments for military death gratuity by striking a deal with the Fisher House Foundation to provide the benefits through the shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described the vote on the legislation as “moot” and just for “show” since the Pentagon already found a way to solve the problem.

The White House said legislation to restore the death gratuity is “not necessary” because of the Pentagon’s deal with the Fisher House Foundation to provide the benefits through the shutdown, but stopped short of saying the president would veto the bill.

“We don't need legislation,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

“Fisher House is contracting with the Department of Defense. Through that contract, the Department of Defense obligates itself to reimburse the Fisher House upon the reopening of the government. So it's not just the Fisher House taking on the sole responsibility in perpetuity,” he explained.

The White House believes the piecemeal funding bills being considered by the House are “a gimmick,” Carney reiterated.

“Think about the amount of expended energy here to try to piecemeal-solve their specific political problems every day when a bad consequence is revealed because of their decision to shut down the government,” he said. “You know, they could save themselves a lot of trouble and the American people a lot of harm if they would simply open the government.”

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