According to reports, a compromise was negotiated between the Pentagon and California National Guard soldiers in regard to the enlistment incentives and student loans that is likely to lead to a cancellation of repayments.
While the negotiations were on-going, the repayment program was temporarily suspended on October 26th 2016. The House and the Senate are set to vote on the new agreement, this week and the next respectively. Once approved, the compromise would cancel the repayment for most of the 9,700 California soldiers. Provided the new agreement is approved as expected, the monies already collected from soldiers by the Defense Department would be refunded. Damages inflicted on the affected soldiers’ financial reputations by Defense Department’s collection efforts would be rectified as well.
As a part of the proposed agreement, the Pentagon would retain the right to investigate and prosecute cases in which it can be proven that a recipient knew – or should have known – that he or she was ineligible for an enlistment bonus or a student loan benefit and yet, collected it.
The agreement in favor of our veterans is badly needed. The veterans risked their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan: some suffered severe battlefield injuries; unlike Defense Department’s finances, physical wholeness can’t be restored. There may have been a few cases of improper benefit collection, but prosecuting 9,700 soldiers for the misdeeds of a few wasn’t fair, harmed California National Guard soldiers and left a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth.