Tags: Veterans | kevin mccarthy | pentagon | enlistment bonus | reimburse

McCarthy: Pentagon's Call for Bonus Repayment 'Disgraceful'

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By    |   Tuesday, 25 October 2016 12:11 PM

The Pentagon's call for soldiers in California to pay back their enlistment bonuses is "disgraceful and unacceptable," and steps will be taken in Congress to stop the collection efforts, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday.

"These are the men and women during the height of Iraq and Afghanistan that were asked if they would give a bonus to them if they would reenlist," the California Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. "It was what was promised to them. It was what they deserved and what they earned."

California National Guard officials, when faced with a shortage of troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, offered bonuses of $15,000 or more to entice soldiers to reenlist, but in 2010, a federal investigation determined the bonuses and student loan payments had been improperly made, and nearly 10,000 current and retired soldiers received notices to repay some or all of the money.

McCarthy said he and several representatives have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter asking that efforts to recover the money, totalling nearly $20 million, be stopped.

The letter, obtained by The Washington Examiner, was signed by McCarthy, House Veterans' Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry and more than 20 other lawmakers. It points out some veterans have "faced the threat of wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse. This is no way to treat those who have fulfilled their commitments to our country. They should be held harmless in light of the fraud that was perpetrated upon them by overzealous recruiters."

"This can be waived by the Department of Defense," McCarthy said Tuesday. "If it is not waived, when we go back, we will move legislation and solve this problem once and for all because this is unacceptable. I want to know the person who made the decision to go after these individuals asking for the return of the money."

The letter is the first step, as the House is currently out of session, McCarthy said, but after representatives go back on Nov. 14, there are plans to move legislation on the matter.

"The Department of Defense has the power going forward to stop any movement of money," McCarthy told the program. "These veterans, it was not their fault. The military promised it to them. They did not make the decision. They should not go after them and this has to stop. If it doesn't stop, we will move legislation to stop it."

The men and women involved came to the call of the United States when it needed them, and did what they were asked to do.

"They deserve to keep the money and the promise we gave them," McCarthy said. "This will not stand and I promise you we will correct this."

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The Pentagon's call for soldiers in California to pay back their enlistment bonuses is "disgraceful and unacceptable," and steps will be taken in Congress to stop the collection efforts, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday.
kevin mccarthy, pentagon, enlistment bonus, reimburse
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2016-11-25
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 12:11 PM
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