The omnibus spending bill the House will pass later today includes a $174,000 payment to the widow of former Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), who died last year.
Congress continues to make these "death gratuity" payments even in the face of criticism from outside budget hawks. It's been the policy of Congress for years to pay an amount equal to the annual salary of a member to their survivors when they die in office.
"For payment to Beverly A. Young, widow of C.W. Bill Young, late a Representative from the State of Florida, $174,000," the omnibus bill says.
Last September, the House passed a spending bill that made a $174,000 payment to the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died in June. That led to criticism from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who pointed out that the payment makes no sense given the U.S. budget deficit and the fact that Lautenberg was a multi-millionaire.