Law­mak­ers OK aid for troops fac­ing bonus re­pay de­mand

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — House and Se­nate ne­go­tia­tors an­nounced a com­pro­mise Tues­day that would per­mit the Pen­tagon to for­give debts owed by thousands of Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard sol­diers who re­ceived im­proper bonuses dur­ing the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The agree­ment, in­cluded in a de­fense bill due to be voted on by the House on Friday and the Se­nate next week, seeks to strike a bal­ance be­tween the Pen­tagon’s con­cerns about fraud in the bonus sys­tem and law­mak­ers’ at­tempts to re­solve a scan­dal that sparked a pub­lic furor.

The com­pro­mise calls on the Pen­tagon to for­give the en­list­ment bonuses and stu­dent loans ben­e­fits un­less the sol­dier who re­ceived the money “knew or rea­son­ably should have known” that he or she was in­el­i­gi­ble for it.

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