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Obama signs bill to provide death benefits to families of U.S. soldiers

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the continuing government shutdown from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, October 8, 201
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the continuing government shutdown from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, October 8, 201

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed into law on Thursday legislation that was rushed through Congress to provide aid for the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty, assistance that was frozen due to the U.S. government shutdown.

The Defense Department touched off a national furor by saying a law that Obama signed just before the shutdown 10 days ago allowing the Pentagon to pay the military did not include the families of fallen troops.

When he heard of the uproar, Obama told his White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, on Tuesday night to work out a solution with Congress, spokesman Jay Carney said.

The end result was legislation that Congress approved earlier on Thursday.

At least five families of soldiers killed last weekend in Afghanistan were affected by the suspension, U.S. Senator John McCain said. The Republican lawmaker said on Tuesday that members of Congress should be "embarrassed" and "ashamed" for the lapse.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

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