Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Oct 9, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, stood up for military families by joining Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Danny Heck (D-WA), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA) as an original co-sponsor of the Fallen Heroes and Families Assistance Act, a bill to amend the Pay Our Military Act by requiring the Department of Defense to disburse the standard survivor benefits to families of fallen service members.

On Sunday, our nation lost four brave service members in an improvised bomb attack in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Shortly after they were killed, their families were notified that the standard survivor benefits could not be paid due to the government shutdown.

“This is a disgrace and an outrage,” said Congressman Bishop. “These brave service members gave their lives in defense of our country and we hold an obligation that their families will be cared for. Now, due to the shutdown, that sacred commitment has been broken and abandoned. We must fix this grave injustice, pass this bipartisan bill for our nation’s military families, and open the government once again for all Americans!”

The Fallen Heroes and Families Assistance Act would require the Department of Defense pay out standard death gratuity, monetary reimbursement for funeral expenses, payment of Survivor Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), monetary reimbursement for funeral travel, and monetary reimbursement for travel associated with dignified transfer, in spite of the government shutdown.

The Leadership has drafted another bill with similar language, which is expected to be introduced and acted upon by the full House of Representatives in the next few days. Congressman Bishop has been invited to co-sponsor that bill as well.

Earlier today, Congressman Bishop released a statement regarding the news of the deaths of 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, killed in an improvised bomb attack in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Sgt. Hawkins and Pfc Patterson were both assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, GA. To read the statement, please click here.