Rep. Schiff Heralds Bipartisan Legislation Passed in House to End Clawback of National Guard Bonuses, Pay Back Servicemembers

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after a measure that included in the National Defense Authorization Act to permanently halt efforts to claw back reenlistment bonuses and benefits paid to California National Guard soldiers a decade ago was passed with broad bipartisan support in the House:

"The bipartisan legislation we passed today should give Guard members the confidence they need that if they accepted a bonus in good faith, they won't have to pay it back, and if they did so already, the soldiers will be repaid.  It's rare for a deeply divided Congress to move quickly on any issue, but with only a few weeks left in the year, we wanted to pass this legislation before the Holiday season. Even now that the bill has passed, we will keep a watchful eye on the Pentagon and if any further relief is necessary, we stand ready to act again."

This provision passed today mirrors legislation that the members of Congress introduced earlier in this month to require the Pentagon to suspend all collection efforts and establish a streamlined process to provide financial relief for affected service members. According to the Pentagon, almost 10,000 members of the Army National Guard may have received improper benefits from 2004 to 2010.

The language in the NDAA prevents the Army from recouping those funds from any service members who unknowingly received them during that time period. It also requires the Army to reimburse any soldier who has already repaid the government, and to notify credit agencies that any debt previously reported was invalid.

The bill would not cover National Guard members who engaged in fraud or misrepresentation. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA in the coming days.