This week, I cosponsored the VET Bonus Act (H.R. 6316), legislation to stop U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to reclaim bonuses rightfully paid to California National Guard members.
Bonus payments made in good faith to CalGuard members shouldn't be touched. These soldiers shouldn't be punished for serving their country.
Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that nearly 10,000 soldiers in the California National Guard had been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more by DoD. Shortly thereafter, I wrote Defense Secretary Ash Carter to request a suspension of his Department's attempts to clawback such bonuses. He acted quickly to do so.
The VET Bonus Act is a permanent solution to ensure that:
• Bonuses paid between 2004 and 2010 in good faith shall not be subject to repayment to DoD unless the recipient committed fraud or did not satisfy corresponding service requirements
• Bonus payments reclaimed by DoD shall be paid back with interest to veterans who accepted them in good faith
• For veterans who are reimbursed by the U.S. Army, the Secretary of the Army must notify credit agencies that any debt previously reported is invalid
I'm confident that Congress will reach a bipartisan solution to this issue and I'll continue to push for one.
On another note, I'm deeply humbled by your decision to have me continue to represent California's 39th Congressional District. Every day I do the best I can to protect the homeland, improve economic opportunity for all, and empower students with an education system that is second to none. It is a privilege to serve you, your family, and our community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Marie and I are both deeply touched by your continued support and friendship.
News for November 11-18, 2016
||Rep. Royce Meets w/ Orange County Water District Board
The Orange County Water District Board of Directors visited Rep. Royce in Washington this week. Rep. Royce works closely with local authorities to ensure that Southern California receives a fair share of the state's water during the drought.
The Orange County Water District manages, replenishes, and protects the Orange County Groundwater Basin—Orange County's largest source of drinking water. The 270-square-mile basin provides approximately 70 percent of the water supply to 2.4 million residents in north and central Orange County.
||Rep. Royce Coordinates Bipartisan Effort on 57/60 Confluence Funding
This week, Rep. Royce hosted U.S. Department of Transportation Undersecretary Blair Anderson and Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) for a discussion on the efforts to expand the 57/60 confluence. Rep. Royce has been instrumental in obtaining funding for the construction project which aims to relieve one of the most congested and dangerous intersections in the nation.
|House passes two sanctions bills, sends foreign policy message on Iran and Syria
|The excerpt below is from an article in the Washington Post that can be read here.
The House overwhelmingly passed a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) by a vote of 419 to 1. The ISA forms the basis for energy, banking and defense sanctions against Iran’s nuclear and missile activities, and was set to expire at the end of the year.
The House also passed by voice vote a measure imposing new sanctions on anyone who provides the Syrian government with financial, material or technological support — a category that includes Russia and Iran — in an effort to “halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people.”
The Obama administration had sought to delay both measures, though the president never threatened a veto, and President-elect Donald Trump has yet to weigh in on either bill. But the bills are a message from the House that it favors a strict approach to dealing with Tehran and international powers helping Syria’s government target civilians in that country’s civil war — even if the White House would rather be left to its own devices.
Though the United States and other parties agreed last year to eventually lift certain sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran scrapping its nuclear program, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long argued that an extension of the ISA is necessary to ensure that there are punitive measures to “snap back” to if Iran violates its obligations under the nuclear deal.
Since then, the Obama White House has indicated that it thinks the ISA is unnecessary, asserting that the president already has the authority to sanction Tehran over any violations of the deal, as well as over recent ballistic missile activity and other aggressive moves. Congressional leaders don’t accept this argument.
“The original understanding was that we would extend it so we would have snapback sanctions if we needed them,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) said Monday. “That was the agreement, that we would have these in abeyance, we would have these in place and thus be able to assure enforcement.”
Read more here.