Ryan Zinke Slams DOD For Demanding Return Of Military Bonuses From Guard Members
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced that he has ordered the Pentagon to stop demanding that National Guardsmen and women who reenlisted for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan return the bonuses paid to them by the government.
U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, a 23 year SEAL team commander, explained what happened to KGVO News.
"It's a contract," Zinke said. "They got a contract with the government for six years and in some cases, the government made a mistake and shortened the enlistments, and then they want the money back. These are enlisted, E-5's E-6's, not a lot of money, but when they receive those bonuses, they make decisions based on the contract with the U.S. government. It's the government's error, and so I'm pushing pretty hard that they honor the National Guard and they make sure that somebody's got their back and they should not have to go through a financial crisis to pay back the right sum."
Zinke said his office was deluged with calls from military families in Montana about the controversy.
"After the story broke, our office just got inundated with calls asking about returning the bonuses," he said. "They make a contract for four or six years and on that basis they pay a bonus and people make life decisions, whether to stay in the Guard, to buy a car or make a down payment on a home. Years go by, and all of a sudden the government says, 'Well, we made an error. We paid you too much, and now we want it back."
Zinke said he was one of a number of Congressmen to write a letter to the Department of Defense asking for an investigation in the controversy.
Then, on Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter put a stop to the practice. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he was glad the Pentagon 'came to its senses.'