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Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama demanded immediate action after learning the U.S. government shutdown had cut off death benefits to relatives of war dead, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Obama expected a solution by the end of Wednesday, Jay Carney said, adding the U.S. leader was “disturbed” to find out the payments had stopped after budget funds for the Pentagon dried up.

The move followed media reports about the plight of four families who recently lost relatives serving in Afghanistan and were not able to access $100,000 in death benefits, housing allowances and financing for burial costs after the government closed a week ago.

“The president was very disturbed to learn of this problem and he directed the Department of Defense to work with the Office of Management and Budget and his lawyers to develop a possible solution,” Carney said.  “The president expects this to be fixed today.”

Carney said the Pentagon had previously informed Congress that it would be legally unable to pay death benefits should the government close.

He also accused Republicans of causing the problem by shutting down federal operations by not passing a new budget before October 1, and for not including the provision in a bill already signed by Obama to ensure soldiers on deployment still get paid during the shutdown.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Screenshot from Aug. 25, 2020 edition of Daily Kos / Youtube

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A federal district judge in New York ruled Monday that the U.S. Postal Service has to treat election mail as a priority, another loss for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the courts. The judge, Victor Marrero, also ordered that overtime and extra deliveries had to be permitted by the USPS as election mail demands. This came in a suit brought by several candidates for office and New York voters against Donald Trump and DeJoy.

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