Congressman Garamendi Signs NDAA Conference Report to Permanently Protect California National Guardsmen from Bonus Clawbacks WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Yuba City, Davis, CA), a core conferee for the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed the NDAA Conference Report that would protect nearly 10,000 current and former California National Guardsmen from attempts by the Department of Defense to reclaim the bonuses and incentives they were paid upon enlisting or reenlisting during our nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report must now be adopted by both chambers of Congress before being presented to President Obama for his signature.
Under this provision, Guardsmen’s debts will be waived and any money they’ve already paid back will be returned to them unless the Department can definitively prove that a service member fraudulently took an incentive they knew they were not eligible for. This language will also ensure that the Department of Defense conducts its previously announced review process in a manner that is as fair as possible to
New Proposed Legislation To Help 10,000 State National Guards Repay Reenlistment Bonuses New legislation is in the works to help 10,000 California National Guard soldiers from having to repay reenlistment bonuses as they marched off to war.
Capt. Christopher Van Meter from Manteca —a purple heart recipient— left the guard after 21 years and was wounded in Iraq.
Van Meter received $46,000 in reenlistment bonuses and student loan repayments which the Pentagon said he had to pay back within 36 months.
“You’re frustrated and you’re angry literally like a punch to the gut,” Van Meter says. “It was nearly $1,300 a month that we were paying and that was way too much for my young family. We ended up having to refinance our home and we buried it into our mortgage.”
Two bills in Congress, proposed Congressmen Jeff Denham and John Garamendi, would eliminate the debt, block those repayments and reimburse with interest the soldiers who have already paid back.
"We’re excited about the legislation coming forward," Van Meter says. "There’s no guarantee in anything. A
Congressman Garamendi Champions “Make It In America” for the California High Speed Rail Program WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City), together with Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), praised the California High-Speed Rail Authority for the withdrawal of its request for Buy America waivers for component parts of its high-speed rail trains. The Authority had requested a waiver to allow the use of foreign components and foreign-sourced steel on up to 70 train sets. After extensive conversations with Congressman Garamendi, the Authority chose not to seek any exemptions to Buy America requirements. Garamendi thanked Chairman Dan Richard for immediately responding to his concerns and taking the leadership necessary to reverse the Authority’s request for a waiver.
“Following my conversation with the authority, they made the right decision to withdraw the Buy America waiver request and renew their commitment to maximum American-made content in all their projects, including the high-speed trainsets,” said Congressman Garam