Jazz wrote about it Saturday, I followed up earlier today and the mainstream media began taking notice later Monday afternoon. It’s one of those stories that just doesn’t make any sense, no matter what you political persuasion may be.
It’s the story of combat vets from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars forced to reimburse reenlistment bonuses they were promised ten years after they’d received them.
And it’s a total outrage.
Monday afternoon, I interviewed Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) on WMAL in Washington DC. Thornberry, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, compared the fiasco to the Wells Fargo scandal and told me if recruitment officers were guilty of wrong-doing, the service members who received the bonuses should not be the ones to pay the penalties.
“It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Wells Fargo deal were people are making up things to make their record look better but I know of nothing that says the individual service members who received the bonuses did anything wrong or were anything but misled so they have to be held harmless in this.”
Thornberry said he plans to put pressure on the Pentagon to reverse their policy on forcing the reimbursements. He also plans to use legislation to fix this problem for good.
“The defense authorization bill that is working its way through the house and the senate – actually already passed the house and senate now just in conference committee – has a statute of limitations on for exactly these sorts of situations and what i want to do is make what ever fixes are appropriate in that language we already have to fix this situation.”
I asked Thornberry if the Democrats were on board with his legislative fix or if our vets were going to get caught in the crossfire of a bitter, partisan fight.
“Ranking member Adam Smith from the state of Washington, he and I have been joined at the hip on this saying ‘this is wrong, we’re going to fix it.’ And we’re going to fix it in a bill that goes to the President and encourage him to sign it, not veto it.”
Chairman Thornberry is saying all the right things on this issue and if there truly is bipartisan support to fix this problem and remove the threat of prosecution from innocent combat vets then that surely is good news. But, just in case, here’s how you can contact the Armed Services Committee.