US defense chief: Don’t seek repayment of enlistment bonuses

U.S. Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council Defence Ministers session at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. NATO defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss tense relations with Russia, how to help Middle East nations combat extremism and cooperation between the military alliance and the European Union. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
U.S. Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council Defence Ministers session at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. NATO defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss tense relations with Russia, how to help Middle East nations combat extremism and cooperation between the military alliance and the European Union. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

 

BRUSSELS (AP) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered the Pentagon to stop seeking repayments of enlistment bonuses given to California National Guard members who served overseas.

His decision comes in the wake of angry reaction from members of Congress who demanded he relieve the burden on the Guard members. And the White House said President Barack Obama has warned the Defense Department not to “nickel and dime” service members who were victims of fraud by overzealous recruiters.

In a statement issued during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, Carter said effort to collect reimbursement should stop “as soon as is practical” and will continue until a process to help the troops deal with the problem is worked out.

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