Coffman, Costello, Poliquin praise decision to halt efforts to claw back bonuses

The Pentagon’s announcement this week that enlistment bonuses would not be clawed back from California National Guard soldiers was met with applause from U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).

The U.S. Defense Secretary ordered the Pentagon suspend the collection of improper enlistment bonuses paid to thousands of California National Guard soldiers at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I am so relieved that bureaucrats at the Pentagon finally came to their senses,” Coffman, an Iraq war veteran, said. “It was wrong to go so far back to correct administrative errors that were clearly not the fault of the men and women who have served our country in time of war.”

Costello, meanwhile, said he has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in requesting clarification from the Department of Defense about what congressional action might be needed to provide a permanent solution.

“While I am encouraged by the Pentagon’s recent decision to halt the recovery of these bonuses, I am appalled this attempt to take these bonuses from the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country ever occurred in the first place,” said Costello, who is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Poliquin agreed it was unacceptable for veterans to be asked to repay bonuses they had earned.

“I’m pleased the Pentagon realized this horrible mistake and acted quickly to stop it,” Poliquin said. “I’m poised to work with my colleagues in Congress and with the Department of the Defense in investigating the matter and making sure it never happens again.”