REP. THOMPSON STATEMENT ON SECRETARY ASH CARTER’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT PENTAGON WILL HALT BONUS RECOUPMENT FOR CURRENT, FORMER MEMBERS OF CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, Co-Chair of the House Military Veterans Caucus, today issued the following statement after Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Pentagon will halt efforts to recoup bonuses that had been issued to members of the California National Guard in error. Secretary Carter stated that the suspension will continue until a fair, equitable, and timely process is implemented for those impacted. The Secretary asked that this improved process be implemented by January 1, 2017, and that all pending cases are resolved by July 1, 2017.
“Secretary Carter’s announcement today that efforts to recoup unauthorized payments to current and former members of the California National Guard is an important first step as we work to do right by our heroes,” said Thompson. “While it’s important that collection efforts are halted as we work to find a solution, we can’t stop there. The Secretary’s announcement doesn’t guarantee that impacted service members and veterans will be relieved from their obligation to repay these bonuses. The brave men and women who answered our country’s call to service shouldn’t be left footing the bill for others’ mistakes, which is why I’ll continue working with my colleagues in Congress to make sure that these debts are forgiven.”
Yesterday, Thompson led the House Military Veterans Caucus in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning asking him to grant an exception to the requirement that current and former service members who enlisted in the National Guard between 2006 and 2008 repay unauthorized bonuses.
Thompson, himself a veteran, was appalled to learn that thousands of current and former soldiers in the Army National Guard, including 9,700 in California alone, are being asked to repay enlistment bonuses they were awarded eight to ten years ago. Upon learning of this unacceptable situation, Thompson immediately took action to help his fellow veterans find relief from this unfair financial burden.