Arlington, VA – Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) is applauding Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) – for standing by veterans through the Pentagon’s recently-exposed bonus repayment scandal at the California National Guard.
Thousands of soldiers in California – many of whom served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan – were ordered to repay enlistment bonuses given to them by the Pentagon over a decade ago. If the veterans were unable to pay back the money, the Pentagon planned to use interest charges, wage garnishments, and tax liens to recoup it. Earlier this week Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the DOD Finance and Accounting Service team is suspending efforts to grab back bonuses from California National Guard veterans until Carter is “satisfied that [the] process is working effectively.”
Sen. Ernst has spoken out about the bonus scandal and the continued mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “Veterans deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can all be proud of. Unfortunately, that has not been the case,” said Ernst.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“As a former Lt. Col. in the Iowa National Guard, Joni understands what it means to honor and serve. She also understands the struggles that men and women in uniform face when they come back home. Sen. Ernst is proven a leader who follows through and holds the government accountable on behalf of veterans. Now, other members of Congress must join Sen. Ernst in standing up to the Pentagon during this outrageous bonus scandal.”
In her first 100 days in office, Ernst introduced her first piece of legislation to expand mental health services for veterans to ensure they are never forced to wait at the VA or get insufficient help. From VA accountability to honoring our Gold Star families, Joni Ernst has made veterans issues a priority.
CVA stands with Joni Ernst and our veterans, encouraging members of Congress to act quickly to waive the bonus repayments and work together for solutions that will protect our nation’s veterans from future government fraud and abuse.