Megyn Kelly: Death Benefits Denied to Military Families Is a ‘Middle Finger’ to America’s Heroes

BY FOX NEWS INSIDER //OCT 08 2013 // 9:12PM

Family members of United States fallen soldiers are receiving the ultimate insult by the very government that sent their loved ones to war. So far, at least five families have been told they will not be receiving death benefits. Why? All because they were killed after the government shut down.

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That money helps pay for the soldiers’ funerals and for the families to fly to Dover, Delaware to meet their remains. Tonight on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly spoke to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Kelly asked him, “With all due respect, this seems like a middle finger to the family members of these heroes who died – and the question is, who’s to blame?”

“This is a bone-headed decision that dishonors our fallen brothers and sisters,” Hunter said. “It breaks the trust that our government has with those men and women that serve on the front lines and that are forgotten right now because of this shutdown.”

One of those fallen soldiers is Sergeant Patrick Hawkins. He died while helping a wounded ranger. Kelly observed, “The ranger creed is never leave a fallen comrade. I mean the irony of that given what happened to him and his family is stark.”

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Hunter wrote a scathing letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accusing him and his department of a careless legal interpretation. The department has denied that this was a matter of choice. Hunter argued that the Pay Our Military Act that was signed into law shortly before the shutdown covers death benefits.

Speaking as a former Marine, Hunter called it “shameful” and “pure bureaucracy” that the U.S. government would abandon these military families. “You no longer have your sole breadwinner. […] You’re going to be living without pay, you have kids. That’s the situation that the government is putting these guys in. […] It needs to get fixed tonight.”