TUCSON – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today after recent news that the California National Guard is ordering veterans to repay large enlistment bonuses that were offered without proper authorization as long as a decade ago. Veterans who received the bonuses to entice reenlistment are now being told to pay them back with interest or face the threat of wage garnishments and tax liens for non-compliance.
“DOD must act swiftly to stop this unjust retroactive punishment targeting our veterans for the improper behavior of recruiters,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Our veterans earn every bonus and benefit offered to them through their service in uniform. This money was offered in exchange for tremendous sacrifice on behalf of each service member and their families. They upheld their side of the bargain, and they expect – and deserve – for the federal government to do the same.
“Asking veterans to repay money promised to them after years have passed is cruel, and the threat of ruining their credit over this is appalling. I cannot think of a more harmful message to send, nor a more disruptive and undeserved burden to place on anyone relying on the Department of Defense to keep their word. Congress should pass legislation to ensure our veterans are never again penalized for the DOD’s mistakes and going forward we must prioritize service members pay and benefits within our vast military budget.”