House Approves Frelinghuysen Measure to Protect "Families of the Fallen"


House Approves Frelinghuysen Measure to Protect “Families of the Fallen”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation, introduced by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), designed to ensure that the families of military servicemembers who have died for the country receive government benefits they deserve.

“Our government has no greater responsibility than to take care of the families of our brave men and women who have fought and died for our country,” said Frelinghuysen, the Vice-Chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “This bipartisan legislation provides continuing appropriations to ensure that if troops are killed serving our country, our government will honor its obligations to them and their families without delay.”

The bipartisan bill was quickly developed after the Pentagon said it could no longer make "death gratuity" payments to families after the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1 because of the government shutdown.

The legislation approved by the House today:

  • Provides for payment of death gratuities and other benefits, such as military housing allowance, to the families of fallen soldiers; 
  • Provides for authorized funeral and burial services for servicemembers and their families;
  • Would also pay for families to travel to meet the remains of their loved ones returning home from the battlefield;

During debate on House Joint Resolution 91, Frelinghuysen declared, “Our men and women serving in uniform serving in dangerous places all over the globe deserve the peace of mind of knowing that, during the worst of times, their families will receive the benefits they deserve immediately.  This bill removes any ambiguity on this point.”

This is the second time the House has voted to protect these benefits.  House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (CA) stated yesterday that Congress passed the "Pay Our Military Act“ with the express intent that all military pay and allowances would be dispersed during a government shutdown.” Frelinghuysen’s bill, passed by the House unanimously today, makes that authority explicit.