Rep. Cook Urges Pentagon to Stop Forced Repayment of Reenlistment Bonuses
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) called on the Department of Defense to stop forcing the brave men and women who served in our nation’s military to repay their reenlistment bonuses.
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Cook demanded that the Department of Defense halt the practice of garnishing wages from Guardsmen who were awarded bonuses for reenlisting at the height of the Iraq and Afghan Wars in the early 2000's. Though these men and women served their country and defended their nation, the Army was seeking repayment ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. This is putting significant financial strain on these men and women years after they fulfilled their commitment.
Rep. Cook was joined on the letter by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Florida), who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and by the several other California members.
Cook said, “It makes no sense for the Army to come back a decade later and punish those who served and sacrificed for our country. This is no way to treat those who served honorably and fulfilled their commitment to our nation. This practice must stop immediately. These men and women should be praised for their service, not penalized for it.”
A member of the House Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.