Bill to let National Guard members keep bonuses clears House
Senator Jon Tester’s bill to stop the Army from collecting money from National Guard members and placing them in financial hardship has cleared the House of Representatives.
Tester’s National Guard Bonus Repayment and Financial Relief Act responds to the Army’s decision to recoup bonuses from Guard members who unknowingly received improper payments.
“Our brave service members sacrifice everything for our freedom, the last thing the government should be doing is punishing them for someone else’s mistake,” said Tester, a member of the committee that drafts the Defense Department’s budget. “These bonuses are a small token of our nation’s gratitude for the men and women who answered the call when we needed them most.”
At Tester’s urging, this provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act which cleared the House today and heads to the Senate for a vote next week.
The bill follows up on the news that as many as 9,800 members of the Army National Guard may have received improper signing bonuses between 2004 and 2010, and that the Army issued a directive for those members to repay them. Those actions led to financial hardship and debt for several of the affected soldiers and their families.
• Blocks the Army from recouping funds from Guard members who received improper bonuses
• Directs the Army to repay those who have already paid back their bonuses
• Forces the Secretary to notify credit agencies that any debt previously reported was never valid