BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Grieving military families were denied death benefits for their loved ones, a shameful result from the partial government shutdown. Though the House just voted to restore those benefits, it isn't enough to stop the outrage.
The government shutdown prevented the Department of Defense (DoD) from doling out the benefits to military families. The DoD says it didn't have the authority to disperse the funds, but veterans say that is nonsense.
Iraq War veteran Christopher Krieger said, "I remember my mother telling me, 'Love your country, but don't trust your government.' I stick to that to this day."
"Our government has shut down. Now you're shutting down veteran benefits. But those who make the decision to shut this country down still continue collecting a paycheck. Why should we continue paying taxes?"
The Pentagon normally immediately provides $100,000 to families of soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
"I don't care if it's a $100,000 they're withholding or it's a dollar they're withholding. That individual gave their life to this country for a reason. And now you're going to turn around and this is the way you're going to say thank you? And you're going to slap the family for it even more? You already took their loved one and now you're going to deny the burial benefits for them? Shame on them," Krieger said.
Late Wednesday, the House voted to reinstate those benefits. Military families won't begin receiving them until the Senate passes a bill and the president signs it into law.
Congressman Chris Collins blames President Barack Obama for the holdup.
"They have chosen to do this. Why in God's green earth would they do it? They have yet to answer to that. I believe it's political and it's shameful," Collins said.
But Krieger says shame falls on every politician inside the Capitol beltway.
"All of Congress and the President is holding this country hostage. And this is something we need to remember come election day," he argued.
Krieger also runs Western New York Heroes, an organization that helps servicemen and women adjust to civilian life and helps their families financially.
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