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Military Death Benefits Will No Longer Be Stopped By Government Shutdowns

Washington, D.C. (CBS Local)- Military death gratuities are no longer going to be stopped in the case of a government shutdown thanks to a new provision that will be part of the defense appropriations deal set to be announced this week.

According to the Military Times, the bill includes an exemption for families of troops killed on duty in order to allow them to receive the death benefits payouts even if other military benefits are placed on hold due to a shutdown.

The issue of military death gratuities being stopped in the case of a shutdown has reared its head twice in the past several years during the partial shutdowns that the nation has endured. In each of those cases, widows and families of troops were forced to wait for payouts to be administered because the federal rules prohibited them.

Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, sponsored the legislation to make the change and he spoke to the Times about the new provision.

"This really is the very least we can do for families who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Connolly. "Never again will a government shutdown cause a grieving military family to be denied a death gratuity payment during their time of mourning."

According to the Times, the spending bill that is being proposed includes $674 billion in defense appropriations along with full 2019 budgets for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education. The bill must be approved by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President before October 1 in order to avoid another partial shutdown.

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