U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today applauded the inclusion of their bipartisan amendment to the FY09 Budget which would create a reserve fund to guarantee that veterans who are wounded in combat are able to receive full payment of bonuses and incentives.
"Tens of thousands of troops have been injured in Iraq with many of them struggling to support themselves and their families," said Senator Casey. "They gave us their word that they would serve and protect us at any cost. The very least we can do is to honor the promises we made to them by providing them with the benefits they deserve and have earned. I am pleased that my colleagues have recognized this by including this amendment in the 2009 Budget."
"Our young men and women serve with incredible courage and bravery. Their enlistment represents a commitment to serve and protect their country," Sessions said. "In return, the United States makes a commitment to them. Providing the compensation that they were promised will ensure that the government fulfills its end of the bargain."
"Our troops make a tremendous commitment by choosing to serve in defense of this nation, and the government must uphold its own commitment when these brave men and women are injured. There is no higher priority than ensuring that our wounded warriors receive the benefits to which they are entitled. I applaud my Senate colleagues for doing the right thing for our servicemembers, and I will continue to work for our injured troops and their families so that they receive the respect and support they deserve," said Senator Clinton.
In December of 2007, Senators Sessions, Clinton and Casey introduced the Wounded Warrior Bonus Equity Act which requires payment of remaining bonus entitlement to service members within 90 days of retirement or separation due to a combat-related injury. The bill was introduced in response to a report of an injured service member from Pennsylvania being asked to repay his enlistment bonus. It would also direct the Department of Defense to perform an internal audit to identify former service members who have been affected by this practice.
This amendment was cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).