Democrats Call for Expansion of Death Benefits

Democrats say they like a proposal by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions that would give extra money to families of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and future war zones.

But they also want more money for all military personnel killed on active duty. "The soldiers who represent us in dangerous areas, they need to know and the Americans need to know, if something happens to them while they're fighting for us, their family is going to be well taken care of."

The Senate Armed Services Committee is hearing about the plan to boost military death benefits by $250,000

The proposal includes retroactive pay to spouses or surviving relatives of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since October of 2001 -- when the U.S. launched its response to 9-11.

A Pentagon official says no program can "give someone back their loved one," but he says some extra money can at least help financially. Sessions, a Mobile republican, said in an interview Monday that the proposal would increase the tax-free "death gratuity" from about $12,400  to $100,000.

And the government would also pay for $150,000 in life insurance for troops. Alabama GOP Congressman Spencer Bachus is sponsoring similar legislation in the House.