Shutdown prevents family of fallen soldier from receiving benefits

The government shutdown is affecting the family of a Springfield, Missouri soldier who was among four killed in a weekend attack in Afghanistan.

The Army confirms 24-year-old Special Agent Joseph Peters and three other soldiers died Sunday when their unit was hit by a roadside bomb in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan.

Peters served two deployments in Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan.

He is survived by his wife and 20-month-old son.

The shutdown prevented Petersâ?? family, and the family of the other victims, from receiving death benefits usually paid out within three days of a soldierâ??s death.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid addressed what he called an embarrassing issue Tuesday on the Senate floor and called all 100 senators to act.

In his statement, Reid said â??Their families have already suffered an unbearable loss. But now the families of these fallen soldiers are being denied death benefits to help with burial of their lost loved ones because of this shameful and embarrassing government shutdown. There are no words to describe this situation â?? that America could fail the families of our fallen heroes. But the first word that comes to mind is appalling.â??

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, joined with senators from both sides of the aisle to craft a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The letter urges Hagel to restore the benefits. You can read the letter here. Sen. Claire McCaskill also signed the letter.