October 9, 2013
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 91, the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J. Res. 91, the Honoring the Families of Fallen Soldiers Act. This bill will ensure that the families of U.S. military members who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their nation will receive the benefits they are promised, in spite of this unfortunate government shutdown.
"The House has voted to take care of our warfighters by ensuring that they will be paid during this fiscal crisis. But our responsibility to our soldiers doesn’t end there.
"As they put their lives on the line on behalf of this nation, our brave soldiers shouldn’t be concerned about who will take care of their families.
"That is part of our nation’s agreement with our men and women in uniform – you take care of the United States, and we will take care of you and your loved ones.
"To this end, this bill allows continued funding to guarantee that the government honors its commitments to our military families without delay.
"It allows funding to provide a “death gratuity” to families of fallen soldiers. This is a lump payment to assist them in one of their greatest times of need.
"The bill also allows for the customary financial assistance for funeral costs, family travel and housing, back salary payments, and living expenses. And it is certainly the least we can do for those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
"The reality is we are a nation at war. Wars don’t stop just because our government isn’t functioning properly, nor do our obligations to our soldiers get put on pause while we work to clean things up.
"To the families who have lost a son, a daughter, a sister, a brother, a husband or a wife to war: This bill is our commitment to you that you should not have to suffer even more heartache after such a significant loss. This legislation is the right thing to do, and should be passed without delay.
"I urge my colleagues to support this bill."