House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed the Pentagon’s decision Sunday to force thousands of veterans who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to return enlistment bonuses they received.
“It is disgraceful that the men and women who answered their country’s call to duty following September 11 are now facing forced repayments of bonuses offered to them,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Our military heroes should not shoulder the burden of military recruiters’ faults from over a decade ago.”
The Department of Defense previously offered former members of the California National Guard $15,000 or more to re-enlist, and is now threatening the veterans with possible interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they don’t return the funds, the Los Angeles Times Reports.
McCarthy made it clear he believes it’s wrong to retract the payments for people who serve to protect the country.
“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 California Republican continued. “The Department of Defense should waive these repayments and I will be requesting a full brief from Army and National Guard leadership. The House will investigate these reports to ensure our soldiers are fully honored for their service.”
The Pentagon’s decision comes after an investigation determined minimal oversight on California Guard officials led to mass fraud.
Critics of the move noted it could lead to financial difficulties for the nation’s veterans.
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