Wilson Shocked By Administration’s Refusal to Provide Death Gratuity to Families of Fallen Service Members

Oct 9, 2013
Press Release

Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) delivered the following speech on the House floor in support of H. J. Res. 91, the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act.  This bill that provides death benefits to survivors of military personnel who have fallen during the government shutdown.  When the Pay Our Military Act was passed last week, Congress clearly intended these benefits be provided to our grieving military families. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Congressman Wilson sent a letter last Friday to Defense Secretary Hagel demanding answers as to why the Administration refused to give death gratuity benefits to our brave service members’ survivors.  Congressman Wilson is very pleased that today’s bill passed the House unanimously so that the families of our brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom will receive the benefits they deserve.

“…I stand today to express my shock at the Administration’s absolutely disgusting failure to keep faith with those that have paid the ultimate price in the service to our country.  Today four of our fallen will arrive and have at Dover Air Force Base and the families in attendance will have had to pay their own way to be there for the arrival of their loved ones.  This is a disgrace and an intentional policy to cause pain by an Administration whose actions are disrespectful of those who make our freedoms possible. 

“Soon we will vote to restate the critical death gratuities that we owe in no uncertain terms to the families of our fallen Service Members and to correct the injustice that is being thrust upon them.  I am particularly disappointed in the Administration as the son of a veteran, as a 31- year veteran myself, but most gratefully as the father of four sons currently serving in the military. The Congress in a bipartisan way passed the Pay Our Military Act and it was signed into law for the express purpose of making sure that those who served in our Armed Forces, in defense of our freedom, are paid all that they are owed.  The Administration already has the authority to pay this gratuity; every effort should be made to respect our service members and military families. The Administration is playing politics on the backs of the families of our fallen.  This is unconscionable,” Congressman Joe Wilson said. 

*To view Congressman Wilson’s floor speech, please click here.