Connolly Statement on the Inclusion of Families of Fallen Servicemembers Death Gratuity Protections in Government Funding Bill
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act of 2019, which included the authorization of for the Secretary of Defense, in the event of a government shutdown, to make military death gratuity payments to families of fallen service members. This provision was based on Representative Connolly’s Families of Fallen Servicemembers First Act.
“I commend the Committee for including this overdue provision and I know the families of the fallen appreciate it. It was shameful that Congress would ever allow the government to shut down and allow grieving military families who made the ultimate sacrifice to go without this small but very important measure of the country's gratitude and recognition of their loved one's ultimate sacrifice,” Connolly said. “Today, we right that wrong.”
The Families of Fallen Servicemembers First Act is bipartisan legislation offered by Connolly and Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL). The legislation was first introduced following the 2013 16-day government shutdown, and would ensure the immediate payment of military death benefits to survivors of fallen service members during federal government shutdowns or any other circumstance when federal spending authority lapses.
Video of Connolly’s floor remarks is available here.