Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, R.I.P. — Rep. Billy Long, Shame On You

I don’t know what’s worse: Republicans shutting down the government and thereby shutting down the government’s ability to pay death benefits to the mourning families of fallen soldiers, or Republicans shutting down the government and then claiming they are “working to ensure our nation’s military families are not forgotten in their time of need.” 

That last quote is from Ozark Billy Long, my congressman. It seems the results of the government shutdown he helped engineer have hit very close to home, namely in Springfield, Missouri, where Billy Long lives. From the Springfield News-Leader:

Lawmakers introduced a bill today to provide a death benefit to the families of soldiers killed — including Joseph M. Peters from Springfield — that stopped last week when the government shut down.

Rep. Billy Long’s office said the congressman is co-sponsoring the Fallen Heroes and Families Assistance Act, which his office says ensures future death benefits will not be delayed because of the government shutdown.

Yes, you read that right. Billy Long is “co-sponsoring” a bill to fix what he and his Tea Party friends mucked up and he acts like he is a hero for doing so. What a piece of work is my Republican congressman.

For your information and as a reminder of what a real hero is made of, I will post here a report from Officer.com on the death of Joseph M. Peters:

A special agent with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division was among four soldiers killed in an attack in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Sgt. Joseph M. Peters succumbed to injuries sustained when his unit encountered an improvised explosive device in the Kandahar Province, according to a news release.

The 24-year-old Springfield, Mo. native was assigned to the 286th Military Police Detachment, 5th Military Police Battalion in Vicenza, Italy.

Peters was the first special agent for CID to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Also killed in the attack were 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson.

“Special Agent Peters was a highly respected agent and soldier who sacrificed his life in the defense of this nation,” Major General David Quantock, the Provost Marshal General of the United States Army and Commanding General of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command said in a statement.

“We are extremely proud of his service and what he accomplished as a CID Special Agent and as a Soldier. His death is a reminder to all of us of the unequaled contributions our military members and their families make on a daily basis in the defense of the freedoms that we all enjoy and value so dearly.”

Peters was a member of the U.S. Army for six years and had served two deployments in Iraq before being assigned to Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife and 20-month-old son.

He was posthumously awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

In a related story, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which reportedly is the nation’s largest such group, is calling on President Obama to fix the mess Republicans have made:

“Mr. President, yes, you warned Congress in advance, and yes, they are responsible for continuing the government shut-down. But please take the higher ground and initiate executive action to pay for all related expenses for the funeral arrangements of our fallen hero, Special Agent Joseph Peters, and all our fallen military heroes,” FLEOA National President Jon Adler said in a statement.

“The government is responsible for all expenses and payments on behalf of our fallen heroes who protect life and property; not just their salaries. There is no greater priority for our government.”

Amen.

[U.S. Army photo]
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6 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  October 10, 2013

    Politics, pure politics, Duane and you know it. While this soldier receives no death benefits (not a very large amount as I recall) some drug addict will continue to receive $500 a month in food stamps, maybe $400 per month for unemployment insurance, etc., etc. Add in the armed guards keeping people out of parks and not letting sailboats navigate in “park waters” (on the ocean for Christ’s sake) and we get a picture of the real “pain” now imposed on Americans just to show how stupid the GOP (or would you allow me to write Congress) has become.

    I also read that some charity is paying the soldiers death benefits for now and you know as well as I do the benefits will in fact be paid sometime in the near future. Get serious!!

    I for one would suggest that the hat be passed in Congress and the White House right now to pay all death benefits for anyone KIA during this POLITICAL arguement!! About $10 bucks a head from Congress and the White House will keep death benefits flowing!!

    Anson

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  October 10, 2013

    Rather than just snipe at you for another anecdotal point that supports your “cause”, let me restate a point from my own blog and you tell me what the solution might be.

    “We may still be the richest nation in the world but we are also the largest debtor nation in the world. Just how long will such a house of cards be sustainable?”

    When you reply, if you reply, tell me the tax increase you call for and on whom, to resolve the issue.

    Anson

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  3. I don’t believe that House Republicans specifically intended for military death benefits to be denied, but what makes Long’s and his party’s actions hypocritical is that they first engineered a broad government shutdown for the purpose of extorting the reversal of settled law, and now are arrogating to themselves the right to pick and choose which of the effects of that to mitigate. It is telling that they only wish to fix the most publicly-obvious ones, and they now compound their complicity by blaming the party in power for enforcing the rules they should have known would apply, rules that have governed shutdowns for decades.

    Government by extortion is both hypocritical and dishonest. The time for negotiation is when extortion ends, not before, and the president has repeatedly asserted his willingness to put all issues on the table. Just not with a gun to his head.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  October 11, 2013

    Settled law my ass! There were contracts, legal contracts to build “stuff” until the sequester hit. Then the contracts were not fulfilled!!! Layoffs happened as a result.

    Laws mean NOTHING until they are funded to be enforced. You can pass bills costing $ Trillions each year if you have a strong majority, But lose that majority and try to pay for such laws, year after year. That is the way or system was DESIGNED to work, long ago.

    Don’t like it then change the system. Just pass a law of sorts and funding becomes automatic each and every year, no matter what, until……….?

    I suggest that after a law is passed, the Executive branch is responsible for enforcing it and thus plans accordingly, including submitting a budget to do so. Well why not just automatically approving the budget submitted by the President, an honest man that would NEVER ask for more than really needed to enforce a law, at least the ones he “wants” to enforce!!

    Anson

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  5. Anonymous

     /  October 19, 2013

    Stop using dead soldiers for your political commentary! You people make me sick!

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    • Huh? A congressman tries to cover up the role he played in not providing the death benefits of a fallen soldier and because I point it out I’m “using dead soldiers” for my “political commentary”?

      “You people make me sick!” back atcha.

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