Congress fails to fund Army recruitment bonuses Updated: Bush pocket vetoed the bill due to a questionable provision

posted at 2:57 pm on January 11, 2008 by Bryan

I received this email from a military recruiter yesterday.

I am a detailed Army recruiter. We just had a kid sign up today. He was promised a 25k bonus. However, he had to sign a piece of paper saying that since Congress has not set aside any money for bonuses for the military (the deadline was 31 Dec 07) he may not get what was promised in his contract.

I know this may sound pretty small, but we often tell people that are interested in the Army that we’re not going to promise anything that is not in the contract. By not setting aside funds for us Congress is essentially forcing the Army (and probably the other services) to figuratively put asterisks on enlistement contracts.

The recruiter scanned and emailed the following form at my request. I Photoshopped the signatures to protect both the recruiter and the recruit, who signed the form yesterday, January 10. This is what the form says.

army-recruitment-bonus.jpg

I would like to hear from other recruiters around the country on this, in all branches of the military. My email is bryan – at – hotair – dot – com.

The military depends on bonuses and other incentives to recruit potential troops in what is a very competitive employment environment. We are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq and need to maintain high levels of recruitment to keep the Army in good shape to do its vital job. Congress is derelict in its duty, in my opinion, in leaving room for any doubt that the Army won’t be able to pay the bonuses that it has promised to recruits. Congress needs to approve these funds immediately and take care of our troops.

If Congress doesn’t approve these funds, it could reasonably be accused of trying yet one more way to stop the war via playing games with defense funding. That’s unacceptable.

Update: This is the bill that President Bush pocket vetoed.

“If we signed a contract today for a bonus, we have to be clear that, while we mention the bonus and while we plan on the bonus, we can’t guarantee it,” Carr said in a statement. “That can have a chilling impact on the propensity of a person to sign one of those contracts. That might affect their willingness to enter into a contract that conditionally promises a bonus.”

President George Bush has refused to sign the bill in its present form, saying he wants Congress to revise some of its provisions regarding Iraq.

Carr says he is optimistic that Congress will sign the act and fix what could become a potentially larger problem.

“It has happened before, and Congress in the past has always gone back and made whole any circumstances that occurred during the lapse in authority,” Carr said.

It sounds like Congress needs to fix the darn bill asap. Here’s what drove the veto.

President Bush on Friday used a “pocket veto” to reject a sweeping defense bill because he dislikes a provision that would expose the Iraqi government to expensive lawsuits seeking damages from the Saddam Hussein era…

Democratic aides said they have not ruled out any legislative options, including dropping the language on lawsuits against Iraq and sending the rest of the bill back to Bush.

The sponsor of the contested provision, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said the provision would allow “American victims of terror to hold perpetrators accountable — plain and simple.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called on lawmakers to “move rapidly to fix this section” when Congress returns in January so that the underlying bill can be signed.

Democratic congressional leaders complained that Bush’s move was a last-minute stunt because he had never indicated his intention to veto the bill.

Bush aides said they had signaled concern about the controversial provision for weeks, although there had been no formal veto threat. They said their concern grew urgent recently after a legal review and feedback from U.S. diplomats in Iraq and Iraqi leaders.

The disputed section of the bill would reshape Iraq’s immunity to lawsuits, exposing the new government to litigation in U.S. courts stemming from treatment of Americans in Iraq during Saddam’s reign. Even cases that had once been rejected could be refiled.

There’s a whole lot wrong with this. Lautenberg shouldn’t even be in the Senate; he was put on the ballot after the legal deadline when Robert Torricelli had to drop out. And isn’t it just like a liberal Democrat to put more anti-terror emphasis on the courts rather than the health of the military. That clause needs to go.

Update: Keith at A Second Hand Conjecture emails–

The sponsor of the contested provision, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said the provision would allow “American victims of terror to hold perpetrators accountable — plain and simple.”

** Isn’t this a de-facto admission that Saddam’s regime was neck deep in terrorism???

Sure looks like it.


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Comments

Democrat-let Congress: “We Support Screw the Troops.”

fred5678 on January 11, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Hit ’em hard. I’m sick of Congress’ games. 1 trillion for earmarks and nothing for soldiers and Marines willing to fight another four years? It’s time to drag those corpulent pigs out of their beloved chairs.

joewm315 on January 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

But they “support” the troops. Yet another disgrace from the Democratic-controlled farce we call Congress.

ReubenJCogburn on January 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

SECOND LOOK AT TROOP DEFUNDING!!!

common sensineer on January 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

This is a travesty. Utterly and completely. And you can thank your Dem Congress for it.

Vizzini on January 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

What are you suggesting Bryan? Are you suggesting that the Congress with the lowest approval ratings in memory is carrying out a personal vendetta against Bush for purely political reasons by basically telling the armed forces that they see them as nothing more than political pawns, upon which they can lump the blame for it on their political opposition in the White House?

…surely you jest. Surely.

MadisonConservative on January 11, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Army Times

yo on January 11, 2008 at 3:07 PM

War or peace,that’s a really sad,disgusting state of affairs,we have the money,why must we play politics with our military?
Bob

Bobnormal on January 11, 2008 at 3:10 PM

Congress is derelict in its duty

Business as usual, then.

Frozen Tex on January 11, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Leave it up to the dems to stab our military personnel in the back at every opportunity.

thekingtut on January 11, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Apparently the Democratic Party doesn’t support the troops.

indythinker on January 11, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Memo to the schmucks on Capitol Hill: Take OUR money that you’re giving to idiots who create “piss christ” and the like and give it to people that actually matter, like our men and women in the military.

Metro on January 11, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Donkeys my azz. Phocking PIGS.

Griz on January 11, 2008 at 3:14 PM

They can’t even come back on this one and claim that it was a “joke”, a.k.a. John Kerry.

They’ll claim oversight, if it’s exposed enough. Needs to make it on Fox, at least. Oh the rats! The Pelosi/Reid duo is disgusting, really.

Entelechy on January 11, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Fred needs to make an ad about this.

Iblis on January 11, 2008 at 3:17 PM

What do we do to revamp this whole government, make it actually worth it for honest, smart Americans to run for these offices? At this stage we can pretty much count on our fingers the number of real Patriots in our seats of office.

bbz123 on January 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Good idea: Let’s open the new Iraqi government, duly elected and struggling to get on its feet, to liability for the acts of the Hussein regime.

amerpundit on January 11, 2008 at 3:22 PM

What do we do to revamp this whole government, make it actually worth it for honest, smart Americans to run for these offices? At this stage we can pretty much count on our fingers the number of real Patriots in our seats of office.

bbz123 on January 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM

I’m with you. Our congress is almost completely worthless.

I think it may be time to seriously consider term limits. I don’t know if that would fix it, but it couldn’t hurt. If the President, Governors, state legislators and other officials can be term-limited, why not Congress?

someguy on January 11, 2008 at 3:24 PM

unfreakinbelievable

trailortrash on January 11, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Right. Let’s play politics with soldier’s lives and well-being and the ability of our armed forces to defend the country. Way to go, Congress!

mattyj86 on January 11, 2008 at 3:25 PM

To be somewhat fair, I know that can be dangerous, Congress had the money in the bill. Once the Congress and the President settle the other matters this one is sure to be handled. I understand the President’s pocket veto, but on war funding issues, Congress gave the President what he asked for.

sweeper on January 11, 2008 at 3:25 PM

Bryan, you may wanna check with IAVA and see if they have heard anything about it. Also on Bush passing the VA Funding.

I do not think Rick or Todd know and even though they are for Vets, they aren’t for screwing over all the troops.

upinak on January 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM

…….but don’t you dare question their patriotism.

(oh, come on… somebody had to go there)

Come to think of it, I DO question their patriotism!

MsUnderestimated on January 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM

Sneaky Democrats. Anything they can do to make Iraq fail is done. What slime they are, what traitors they are to our country and our troops. Why can’t all Americans see this?

Maxx on January 11, 2008 at 3:37 PM

Do you know what Iraqi funds that provision was targeted on?

Foreign Military Sales acounts.

It was a way to freeze Iraqi arms purchases ment to build up their forces so that we can withdraw.

That was a poisen pill for the anti-war crowd.

DJ Elliott on January 11, 2008 at 3:38 PM

Come to think of it, I DO question their patriotism!

MsUnderestimated on January 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM

There’s not a whole lot of questions left at this point.

billy on January 11, 2008 at 3:55 PM

Democrats seem to have extreme difficulty distinguishing our friends from our enemies.

Here are some crib notes for Liberals:

US Military GOOD! (they keep you safe and allow you to pursue your fantasies)

Muslim fanatics with guns and bombs running toward you BAD! (they will kill you and wipe out your fantasies)

Terrorist countries building nuclear weapons BAD! (they will kill everyone and wipe out everything)

landlines on January 11, 2008 at 4:02 PM

But tey support teh trooops!

Sheesh.

Jezla on January 11, 2008 at 4:02 PM

I try to hire vets simply because they are a cut above. During the Clinton administration we had a number of great people here because they were getting reamed and left the service. Mostly noncoms, and fed up with their families living what was practically below the poverty level after all was said and done.

Congress needs to get a clear message not to screw with our military. We have the greatest volunteer military in history and the Dems hate it as much as they hate us winning wars.

Hening on January 11, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Next question, rhetorical: where do we stand on the pocket veto?

Congress is technically, ridiculously, in session. Does a pocket veto stand, do Pelosi and Dingy Harry insist it doesn’t and how long will it take SCOTUS to sort it out if they do?

Pablo on January 11, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Come on Lautenberg. Do the right thing.

SoulGlo on January 11, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Good to see Lautenberg screwing over the troops yet again..

He should be concentrating more on trying to keep one of NJ’s bases IN NJ, rather than it go down the rabbit hole of payoffs, kickbacks, number fudging on the BRAC committee that led to it being slated to move to MD.. (It’s already costing twice as much as they first thought and nothing’s even been built in MD yet.)

Oh yeah, I’m sure he still supports the troops though….

UncleOlaf on January 11, 2008 at 4:50 PM

I’ve got 10 years enlisted and NCO experience and in June I start OCS to become an officer. Once I finish I am entitled to a bonus of around $10,000 or more. They better get this thing cleared up by then or I’ll be pissed off.

thomashton on January 11, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Being a Vet, I can tell you this is not the first time I’ve been outraged by this conduct. In a time of conflict….this is so seditious in nature….maybe we should rewrite the definition of T…… It’s a good thing I didn’t have access
the last time this topic came up….I’d probably be in jail.

jerrytbg on January 11, 2008 at 5:15 PM

I’ve got 10 years enlisted and NCO experience and in June I start OCS to become an officer. Once I finish I am entitled to a bonus of around $10,000 or more. They better get this thing cleared up by then or I’ll be pissed off.

thomashton on January 11, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Better make sure before you decide to go OCS. You may want to stay a NCO if they are going to screw everyone over, not just the PFC’s.

upinak on January 11, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Bryan,

Thank-you for pointing out that this bill was seriously flawed and needs to be fixed asap…Many people were quick to jump on the POTUS for vetoing the bill. I was glad he did. We should be demanding that this bill be first on the schedule. We should be demanding that this bill, and every bill that is written thereafter, be done properly..

Pam on January 11, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Me thinks this is more of getting Iraqi pols in the court system and give them immunity to find out what Boooosh promised them and/or paid them either in the run up to the war or right after.

broker1 on January 11, 2008 at 5:57 PM

Pay raises are on hold too…

Even for us retirees.

Romeo13 on January 11, 2008 at 5:59 PM

If I remember correctly from my several enlistment oaths in the US Military during my 25 year career I swore to defend the United States of America and the US Constitution. I also swore to defend both against all enemies foreign and domestic. I believe the liberal members of Congress just joined the domestic enemies list.

KC-135A on January 11, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Bryan, as the father of a soldier who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan — and returned to this country on a medevac flight — you are TRULY to be commended for going to bat for the military and its recruiters like this.

I hope you generate a LOT of HEAT on Congress by doing this.

Our Government often asks our boys (and girls) to risk their lives — and too often court martials them for doing what they need to do to survive.

It seems we could at least keep our deal with them for a measley 25K….

sanantonian on January 11, 2008 at 8:09 PM

I am really so sick of Democrats and RINO’s!
Democrat = liars, thieves and traitors! There is just no other words for them. Pond water has more worth than the democrats in congress. Is there anything they have supported in the past 5 years that was a good benefit to Americans?? Can anyone think of anything?? A policy? A bill? An idea?? Has anyone heard any Democrat leader anywhere say something that even sounded like it might one day be a good idea for America??

JellyToast on January 11, 2008 at 8:29 PM

I read into this when it happened a week or so ago. It was my understanding, correct me if I am wrong, but the bill was a 3,000 page bill that was upwards of $600 billion dollars for general military purposes and for funding the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This bill was supposed to be passed months ago, but Congress was busy investigating steroids use in baseball or something equally important.

Now initially Bush was going to sign it, but you can imagine what kind of pork Congress could hide in a 3,000 page bill worth hundreds of billions of dollars, so I think that it took a while to read through it when they found this provision.

According to what I read, (I read a few different articles on this, not just the MSNBC article provided) his objection with the provision allowing American victims of terror pursuing compensation is that it would bog down the Iraqi courts which are already bogged down trying to re-establish rule of law and put on trial the terrorist suspects being held in Iraqi prisons.

It would also allow Americans to freeze up Iraqi government funds in court, which would have to be paid out for lawsuits if the Americans won, funds which are suppose to be used to re-build ummm their whole country.

I feel for the recruits and for anyone losing money due to Congress’ ineptitude, this bill was suppose to be passed months ago. It’s not Bush’s fault as much as people want to place the blame on him for it. It’s Congress’, yes that includes you Senator Clinton, Obama and McCain

Luckedout on January 11, 2008 at 8:39 PM

As this seems to be the ‘point a finger at someone’ topic, please allow me to point out that this IS the Congress that America voted for.

Feeling proud of yourselves now that you got exactly what you asked for, cut-and-run republicans/independants?

DannoJyd on January 12, 2008 at 12:12 AM

The sponsor of the contested provision, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said the provision would allow “American victims of terror to hold perpetrators accountable — plain and simple.”

A war against you which ends in your hanging isn’t being held accountable enough?

– The Cat

MirCat on January 12, 2008 at 12:22 AM

This reminds me of the book “AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country” by Kathy Roth-Douquet, Frank Schaeffer. Give it another generation, with fewer and fewer veterans around to remind our citizens of the need for, sacrifices of, and mindset of those serving in the profession of arms. How many younger adults know the difference between a first sergeant and a lieutenant? It’s not hard to neglect a military whose heritage and relevance are forgotten by the citizens for whom it serves.

Send_Me on January 12, 2008 at 12:55 AM

Democratic aides said they have not ruled out any legislative options, including dropping the language on lawsuits against Iraq and sending the rest of the bill back to Bush.

What the he!! is that language doing in a defense spending bill anyway?

Traitorous surrendercrats, always looking out for their trial lawyer donors.

Disgusting.

91Veteran on January 12, 2008 at 1:14 AM

Listening to the MSM vice investigating the facts is how we get what we have.

Oscar Wilde reminds us “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” Do not become part of the drinking class, read the facts and make your own decision.

MSGTAS on January 12, 2008 at 8:58 AM

With respect, it seems ignored that the military is having to use ‘bonuses’ as incentives for people to join in the first place. Perhaps that sits fine with some people, but..hmm.. I’d like to think people don’t sign up because ‘the money’s good’. Bad enough hearing certain other people out there ragging on people who join up ‘because they need the money’ (cue the View), after all.

Reaps on January 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM

With respect, it seems ignored that the military is having to use ‘bonuses’ as incentives for people to join in the first place. Perhaps that sits fine with some people, but..hmm.. I’d like to think people don’t sign up because ‘the money’s good’. Bad enough hearing certain other people out there ragging on people who join up ‘because they need the money’ (cue the View), after all.

Reaps on January 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM

No you are ignorant. This is a volunteer military after all and with a war going on a lot of young people need an extra incentive to join. Having served in the Navy for almost 20 years now, I didn’t once receive an enlistment or reenlistment bonus. Sure I would have liked to get one, many others I have served with received thousands of dollars to stay in. It’s easier to recruit people when we are in peacetime and when the job market is bad. When that happens most of the incentives that are being offered now go away because the military doesn’t need them to get people to join.

ic1redeye on January 12, 2008 at 12:34 PM

thomashton: I hope you’re not going OCS simply for the money. With your 10 enlisted years, I’m sure you agree that some of the worst O’s are the prior-E’s who just went commissioned for the money.

upinak: Don’t worry about our future lieutenant (ensign?). He’ll get plenty of basic pay. The only pay for an officer that is lower than enlisted pay is Basic Allowance for Subsistence, or BAS. BAS is pay for food. Enlisted folks (not authorized a meal card) get $294.43/month and officers get $202.76. Assuming he’s at least an E-6 after 10 enlisted years, his basic pay will raise from $2916.30/month to $3672.60, a raise of $756.30 per month. Thus after about a year he’ll earn that $10K he was promised.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, I’m with him on Congress getting their crap together. It is possible that the bonus he was promised played an important part of his deciding to earn a commission. (And I want all of you w/o military experience to be clear: an enlisted person must earn a commission.)

The military has long ago stopped being a good career with respect to serving your 20 then retiring to fish for the rest of your life. No longer does a person get 50% of their final pay after serving 20. You’ll never hear that, but it’s true. You get 50% of the average monthly pay for your final 36 months of service. Additionally, it’s not 50% of your final pay, but 50% of your basic pay. Depending upon where you’re stationed, your basic pay could be as little as 60% of your total pay. For example, I am stationed in an expensive area of CA. My housing pay is $2600/month. That and my BAS total 33% of my pay. Put more simply: 50% of my entire pay is $4350. But 50% of my base pay is $2950.

Congress has authorized bonuses for various things over the years (flight pay, medical pay, jump pay, re-enlistments, etc.). BONUSES ARE CHEAPER because they don’t end up in the base pay, for which Congress would have to pay for life should the individual decide to stay in til retirement.

If thomashton and all the other guys out there were promised a bonus, then Congress needs to pay them. (But what do you expect from a Congress that long ago did away with medical care for life for retirees?!)

mjtyson on January 12, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Well said mitryson but sometimes too much fact clouds the issue for those on the left.

I am a retired (25 years) sweat (E9) who had enough college prior to enty to become a 0 (zero). The reason I chose to sweat it out was accomplishing a task (mission) was more rewarding than taking the Kudo’s for it.

Remember when the civilian sector says you’re paid too much remind them without your clothing allowance you could not tell us (a G.I. or civilian) apart.

Yeah, a rich G.I., drawing a full clothing allowance, that puts me in the 38% bracket.

MSGTAS on January 13, 2008 at 8:52 AM

MSGTAS,
Don’t get me wrong. I never said that our enlisted folks get paid enough. Far from it. Our officers get paid plenty. That I’ll argue til the day I die.

When I was enlisted I worked side-by-side with GS-13s, in a few cases I trained them. I was an E-5. I made a little more than half what they made, taking into consideration my tax benefits (no tax on housing and food allowances). But now, it’s almost criminal what I get paid.

But I liked my enlisted job. I still miss it. I had been enlisted for 13 1/2 years. I really thought the move from E to O long and hard. I did not go Zero for the money. If I had, I would have gone officer years before. (I had my degree done five years before I ever went to OTS.) I went to OTS because 1) better promotions (I was a crap tester and knew I would barely make E-7 if even that), 2) better assignments (my enlisted career field only offered me 3 locations), and 3) better education (I could get a slot at getting my masters, but there are more officer slots than enlisted).

And sure enough, in the 8 years I’ve been an O, I haven’t had to test for rank (1), I’ve had 5 great assignments (2), and I’m now getting my second masters courtesy of the military (3).

I will never try and explain this to the left. Most of the left still thinks only the stupid and those with no job prospects join the military. No matter what you tell them, they’ll never understand that the military (no matter what rank) is filled with some of the brightest people you’d ever meet.

Enjoy your retirement and congrats, BTW, on E-9. For our civilian friends out there, just so you know, by law only 1% (yes, one percent) of our active duty military personnel can hold the rank of E-9.

mjtyson on January 13, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Once again, the republicans have been served up a excellent campaign issue by the dim-bulb-o-crats.

And, once again, the republicans will most likely squander it.

Gutless RINOs.

Dave R. on January 13, 2008 at 12:00 PM

As if ” New Iraq ” needs any additional challenges!

If Iraq could stabilize, govern justly, secure its own region from terrorist groups the pay-back would dwarf the the gains in LEGAL FEES.

What small minds…

Of course if you factor that some would want us to lose…

Sonosam on January 13, 2008 at 12:19 PM