SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on enlistment bonuses the Pentagon is ordering California National Guard soldiers to repay (all times local):
Members of Congress from California and national veterans' leaders are calling for federal action after thousands of soldiers were ordered by the Pentagon to repay enlistment bonuses.
The Guard offered bonuses of $15,000 or more and student loan aid for people who enlisted at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican, are among those expressing outrage.
McCarthy says the House will investigate the reports. His spokesman, Matt Sparks, declined to say what that would entail.
Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers says the California National Guard is working with members of Congress to reintroduce legislation that would clear the debts of soldiers wrongly given the bonuses.
The California National Guard says it welcomes attention to the predicament of nearly 10,000 soldiers ordered to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Spokesman Capt. William Martin said Monday the Guard has been trying to inform those people that an appeals process is available.
It could relieve soldiers of having to return bonuses of $15,000 or more improperly provided in the 2000s.
Martin says "bad actors" working for the Guard misled soldiers with outsized bonuses.
He says they've been replaced with leaders trying to resolve problems.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress and in the California Legislature are decrying the policy and calling for federal action.
Soldiers told The Los Angeles Times they feel betrayed by having to repay the money.