You’re probably aware that the government last week stopped paying death benefits to families whose loved ones died in military service. You might also be aware that a flood of outrage prompted the restoration of those payments.
We’re certainly pleased to see those payments resume. Obviously, a longstanding promise to those who serve our country should not be broken because of political dysfunction, and we’ll give some credit to the officials who made sure to figure out how to get the money where it needs to go.
There were also encouraging signs by the end of the week that a slightly more cooperative tone had begun to emerge in talks about lifting the nation’s debt ceiling and perhaps the partial government shutdown.
But we are not here at the moment to praise.
We are here to point out that the whole death-benefit-payment episode is another reminder of exactly how dysfunctional our federal government has become. Congress can’t agree on a budget, and couldn’t agree on a way to even temporarily keep the government functioning.
The whole thing routinely makes us want to throw the newspaper across the room. But what was particularly galling about the death-benefits issue was the way members of Congress reacted to it with shock and the thunderous rhetoric of righteousness.
“There may be differences in opinion over the fiscal direction of this country, but we should be united in the need to do right by our military families,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas. “The way they have been treated is outrageous and unacceptable and must be rectified immediately.”
We can certainly agree with Sen. Cornyn on that, but he and everybody else in Congress can skip the outrage unless they’re staring in the mirror.
The whole thing is: Make a deal. That’s your job.
Don’t blather with trumped-up outrage at the other side of the aisle, or the President, or the Secretary of Defense, or the Pentagon, or Rush Limbaugh or Jon Stewart or whatever. It’s your fault. Not somebody else’s
We realize that this statement probably sounds ridiculous, but we’ll say it anyway because we still want to believe that our national leaders deserve respect: For members of Congress, such blather is unbecoming.