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Rep. Loretta Sanchez Releases Statement on California Soldiers Forced to Repay Enlistment Bonuses

Press Release

Date: Oct. 24, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, released the following statement following the news that California soldiers and veterans are being forced to repay their enlistment bonus to the federal government.

Nearly a decade ago, the California National Guard used enlistment bonuses as a tool for recruitment. Today, over 10,000 veterans are being forced to pay back these bonuses and students loans because, according to the Pentagon, they were not authorized to receive them. The California National Guard, as well as National Guard recruitment centers in other states, misappropriated funds in order to enlist badly needed soldiers that would go on to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of writing off the debt, the Pentagon is billing soldiers for their enlistment bonus with high interest and threatening debt collection and liens if they do not comply.

"I am shocked by the actions of the Pentagon and the California National Guards against our soldiers and veterans in California. It is unacceptable to hold these brave men and women accountable for the mistakes of their superiors."

"I have reached out to both the California National Guard and the Pentagon for an explanation into this matter. It is important that we address this issue immediately. Many veterans cannot afford to be billed by the country they gave years of their life to protect"