Lawmakers: California Guard Troops Won’t Have to Repay Bonuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — House and Senate negotiators have agreed to forgive the debts of thousands of California National Guard troops who had been ordered by the Pentagon to repay enlistment bonuses. Those bonuses had been incentives for service in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago.

A provision in the annual defense policy bill to be filed Wednesday requires the Pentagon to waive the recoupment of a bonus unless there is evidence showing service members “knew or reasonably should have known” that they weren’t eligible to receive the money.

A vote in the House on the must-pass defense bill is expected by Friday, followed by action in the Senate next week.

The Guard offered enlistment bonuses of as much as $15,000 and student loan aid at the height of the two wars in the 2000s.