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Amata issues statement on suspension of payback of veterans’ bonuses

Source: Office of Congresswoman Aumua Amata media release

Pago Pago, A.S. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata, issued the following statement regarding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) decision to suspend efforts to collect reimbursement from California National Guard soldiers who were awarded enlistment bonuses for which they were ineligible.

“I want to applaud Secretary Carter for suspending these recoupment efforts. It is incorrigible to think that we should expect our soldiers who have put their lives on the line for us, to payback bonuses that were awarded to them more than ten years ago… especially when the blame lays on the government in the first place.

“To make them pay for administrative mistakes within the Department of Defense, ten years after the fact is unacceptable, and is no way to honor the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. However, I am happy to see that common sense has won the day, and Secretary Carter has put a halt to this misguided effort.

“Our soldiers and military veterans are the backbone of our democracy, and we should do all that we can to make sure we are living up to and honoring the commitments we have made to them,” she said.

The Congresswoman concluded, “These are our most brave and selfless citizens, and I know that here in American Samoa, our many soldiers and veterans have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy.  We must do better… our soldiers and veterans have earned that.”