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House Passes Bill To Restore Death Benefits

The Republican-led House has passed legislation to restore death benefits to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers halted by the government shutdown.

Protesters seeking continued funding for the Washington, DC government gather in front of the U.S. Capitol
Protesters seeking continued funding for the Washington, DC government gather in front of the U.S. Capitol (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The vote split across party lines with most Democrats voting against and demanding the entire government be reopened. It’s unclear if the Democrat-led Senate will take up the bill. The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a soldier’s death. But it says the shutdown means there is no authority now to pay the money.

House Speaker John Boehner has blamed the Obama administration for withholding the payments. But White House spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were at fault for shutting down the government.

He said President Barack Obama was “disturbed” to learn of the problem and that the administration hoped to find a solution Wednesday.

Boehner sending small group to Obama meeting

House Speaker John Boehner’s office says a small group of House Republicans will meet with President Barack Obama Thursday instead of the full caucus that the White House invited.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Wednesday that the meeting is only worthwhile if it’s focused on finding a solution. So Buck said only the elected leadership and select committee chairmen will attend — 18 lawmakers out of the 232 invited.

Obama was having the entire House Democratic caucus on Wednesday. The White House said the president intends to also invite senators to talk in the coming days.

Republicans are demanding talks on deficit reduction and Obama’s health care law to approve spending legislation. Obama says he won’t negotiate until the budget is approved with no strings attached.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

 

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