This came to my attention the other day - we actually have a law that requires a Death Gratuity be paid to the survivors of a member of Congress who dies in office.
The amount paid is equal to one year’s salary, so when Sen. Robert Byrd died, his family got $193,400 from taxpayers.
When Sen. Ted Kennedy died, his family (already rich by Pres. Obama's standards) got $174,000 in taxpayer funds. Rep. John Murtha's family also got $174,000.
Originally, it was supposed to be a form of life insurance, and it has been compared to what many private sector employers offer to their employees. But with all the the other 'perks' that go with Congressional elective service, is this really necessary?
The Senate handbook details what is to be done following the death of a member in office: “in the next appropriations bill, an item will be inserted for a gratuity to be paid to the widow(er) or other next- of-kin, in the amount of one-year’s compensation.”
The House amount is "equal to the Member’s annual salary, payable to the deceased Member’s widow or widower, or children."
In both cases, the gratuity is considered a "gift" per U.S. Code.
Most people will find this atrocious, especially when 'average' Americans are charged a death tax when they die.
In 2010, Rep. Bill Posey introduced a bill to end the death gratuity. It was a target of the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) Sunset Caucus. As Posey told the Daily Caller when he introduced the bill:
"We’ve got soldiers dying that don’t get customary benefits like that. That is not right so we are going to see if we can repeal it.
"Nobody knows about this program. It is not that the public is demanding that something be done about this, but if they did know about it, then they would be demanding it."
On Oct. 10, 2011, Posey's bill was referred to the House Committee on House Administration, where it awaits action.
Maybe it's time to bring it to a vote.