Issa, Denham, Valadao seek long-term solution to soldiers’ bonus claw back

Darrell Issa

After the Pentagon said it would waive efforts to recover bonus payments from enlisted soldiers, members of California’s congressional delegation are fighting for a permanent end to the collection efforts.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently announced the Pentagon would suspend efforts to reclaim improper bonuses from nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers who enlisted at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said Carter had taken the appropriate first step “following national outrage and pressure from lawmakers of all parties.” But a temporary suspension is not sufficient, he said.

“The Department of Defense needs to permanently stop these collection efforts and return every penny to those who’ve already repaid them. The men and women who served our nation upheld their end of the bargain. It’s time for the Department of Defense to do the same,” Issa said.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) agreed. “The right thing to do now is refund — with interest and a public apology — veterans whose lives have been turned upside down by this,” he said.

U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) said he had been given assurance by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work that the Pentagon would suspend all efforts to collect bonuses as soon as possible.

“… Our service men and women courageously serve their country, spending time away from their families to make sure we remain safe and I am pleased the Department of Defense has responded to our requests to halt the collections,” Valadao said.

“We must work to ensure this issue is addressed and prevented from occurring again.”