McKeon said he did not speak up in the meeting, but when the president came over to shake his hand afterward, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee urged him to sign legislation restoring death gratuity benefits that the House and Senate passed this week.

McKeon said he told Obama that he heard through media reports that the president might not sign the bill, which had passed unanimously.

“He said, ‘Oh, don’t believe the media. I’ll take care of it,’ ” McKeon said of Obama.

When the chairman returned home Thursday evening, he received a call from the White House.

“The young man said the president asked me to call and tell you he signed the bill,” McKeon said. “So I was glad he did it.”