A fiery Sen. John McCain urged fellow lawmakers to resolve the shutdown crisis during a passionate speech Tuesday on the Senate floor, saying they should all be “ashamed” over denying military death benefits.
“Shouldn’t we as a body –Republican or Democrat–shouldn’t we be embarrassed? Ashamed? What do American people think when they see that death benefit for those who served and sacrifice- they’re not eligible?” He added, “I’m ashamed! I’m embarrassed. All of us should be.”
The so-called “death gratuity,” which the government sends to families of active duty service members within three days of their death, has been suspended as a result of the ongoing government shutdown. These payments help cover the immediate cost of funeral services, travel expenses to meet the coffins and give families some financial cushioning before life benefits kick into effect.
The Arizona Republican spread the blame across party lines, but took a specific dig at members of his own party for refusing to fund the government over President Obama’s health care reform law. “Somehow to think that we were going to repeal Obamacare was false and did people a great disservice!”
He said, it’s time move on–this afternoon– on behalf of military families who are hurting.
“The list goes on and on for all who have fallen victim to reality that we can’t sit down and talk like grownups,” said McCain. ”All I can say is let’s start this afternoon. I don’t care who- let’s sit down and get out of this so these families whose loved ones just died- just died- receive some comfort and solace.”