We spoke too soon.
A few days ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he was suspending all efforts to force Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans to pay back their re-enlistment bonuses. This came after 4-5 days of heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle.
At face value, it appeared to be the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of the controversy.
However, Carter admits that the administration still needs to figure out how to deal with the 2,000+ veterans who received collections notices and “decided to pay them back anyway out of a sense of duty.” So while new collections notices aren’t being sent out, the veterans who paid up aren’t getting their money back either…
It wasn’t “duty” that forced these brave men and women to give the government all of their savings or refinance their homes to pay the "debt." It was the literal threats of prosecution that they received. Now, the Pentagon is holding onto their money.
This issue is far from over…
There is no way to repair the damage that this claw-back program has caused.
The government cannot turn back time and save veterans from going into bankruptcy or refinancing their homes under terrible terms because of these collections notices.
But do you know what would be a good start? Giving the veterans their money back…
This aspect isn’t even on Congress’ radar.
They were notified two years ago by the California National Guard that the Pentagon was trying to claw-back bonuses from thousands of veterans. The National Guard even broke protocol and sent Congress draft legislation to fix the issue back then… and Congress still did nothing.
Both sides of the aisle are talking about ending the program from here on out. But no one is mentioning the 2,000+ veterans who already repaid their “debts.”
We aren’t talking small payments, either. We are talking about veterans being forced to pay back tens of thousands of dollars each.
Many of these vets are disabled. One of them - California National Guard Master Sgt. Bill McLain – is officially 90% disabled because of injuries sustained to his head and back while in combat.
But if you asked him whether his injury ruined his life, he’ll tell you know. His life is being ruined by the Obama administration’s claw back program…
No one in government is fighting for him. It is up to you!
These men and women gave years of their life in service to this country. They were offered cash bonuses in order to convince them to re-enlist instead of retire. Thousands of soldiers took this deal.
Now that they’ve fulfilled their side of the agreement, the government wanted its money back. And even though the Pentagon has been shamed into ending this claw-back program, they're keeping the money they've already collected.
This isn’t just about stopping the government from clawing-back soldier pay, but it is also about making sure that those soldiers who succumbed to the collections demands end up getting their money and lives back.
Many of these soldiers sacrificed life and limb for this country. They need our support!
Let’s put an end to this,