Congress Takes Action to Help Veterans Being Forced to Repay Their Enlistment Bonuses

Congress will take action to get to the bottom of the Pentagon requiring nearly 10,000 U.S. soldiers to repay their enlistment bonuses from service during the Iraq War.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the Department of Defense is demanding thousands of U.S. soldiers return their enlistment bonuses from the early days of the Iraq War.

While many troops accepted the bonuses without knowing of the oversight problems and financial mismanagement during the armed services’ period of bulking up in the early 2000s, the Pentagon is fining and penalizing them years after the fact.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement Sunday calling the revelations in the L.A. Times report “disgraceful”

“Our military heroes should not shoulder the burden of military recruiters’ faults from over a decade ago. They should not owe for what was promised during a difficult time in our country. Rather, we are the ones who owe a debt for the great sacrifices our heroes have made — some of whom unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice.‎”

“The Department of Defense should waive these repayments and I will be requesting a full brief from Army and National Guard leadership,” McCarthy added. “The House will investigate these reports to ensure our soldiers are fully honored for their service.”

In addition, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) penned a letter of condemnation to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Issa also requested that the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees include language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to waive all of the fees and penalties being imposed on soldiers and veterans.

“It is unconscionable that the responsibility for paying for bureaucratic malfeasance and corruption over a decade ago is being laid at the feet of the heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation safe,” Issa said in a statement Monday. “The Department of Defense should forgive these debts immediately.”

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