A US Representative from Wisconsin helps to stop the military from reneging on bonuses given to soldiers.
Men and women who enlist in the military are denied their bonuses if they are unable to fulfill their military obligations. But, when GIs are injured in combat and forced to leave their post that becomes the gray area.
"Some soldiers, both men and women, after being in harm's way, were injured … couldn't get their bonus money because they were injured and couldn't go back into Iraq, couldn't go back into Afghanistan."
Congressman Steve Kagen (D-Appleton) is a co-sponsor of a bill that would fix that. The Appleton Democrat says Congress is telling the Department of Defense to make good on its promise to our veterans.
"We stood up and said 'look, you have to provide veterans who have been discharged from the military with combat-related injuries their full bonuses within 90 days of being discharged.'"
Kagen says this measure also guarantees that families of service members who die will not have to repay any portion of their bonus. And, he'll fight to make this retroactive to cover every wounded warrior forced to leave the military since September 11, 2001.
"After all, a promise is a promise. They've covered our back; now it's time for us to cover their back."
Kagen says veterans should not have to pay again for benefits they've already earned. The House bill — the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act of 2007 (HR 3793) — got unanimous approval on Tuesday. The Senate, on Friday, passed its version — the Wounded Warrior Bonus Equity Act (S 2400). Kagen is hopeful the two Houses will reach a compromise before the Christmas break.
The problem was highlighted by the Dole-Shalala Wounded Warriors Commission.