Liberal stronghold California got a stern rebuke on Wednesday from a surprising source – Republicans and Democrats who were outraged at the state’s treatment of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

After news sources reported on the plight of California National Guard troops who were told to return the bonuses they were paid to re-enlist and serve in those wars, state officials claimed the federal government required the move.

But Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Democrat Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and representatives on both sides of the aisle were united in their condemnation of the so-called “clawback” of bonuses, which not only demanded repayment, but also interest.

The demand impacted as many as 17,000 National Guard troops in California alone, with the state forcing many veterans to refinance their homes and take second (and third) jobs to repay the incentive bonuses paid out over ten years ago and long since spent.

Tuition bonuses were also included in the repayment demand.

News reports of California’s strong-arm tactics against the veterans who answered the call of their country during a time of war, putting life and limb on the line only to be betrayed years later drew furious criticism on cable news and social media.

Sec. Carter issued an order to the Pentagon halting the move, saying, “There is no more important responsibility for the Department of Defense than keeping faith with our people.”

His statement went on to note that he was “ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers,” but did not elaborate on the specific steps that would be taken, nor address relief measures for those soldiers who have already made payments to the state.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined Speaker Paul Ryan in praising Carter’s action, as Ryan said he was “glad the Pentagon came to its senses.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced she would introduce legislation to halt the “clawback,” and the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said he would demand accountability from the officials who mismanaged the incentive program.

Even the White House expressed sympathy with the veterans through spokesman Josh Earnest, who said, “President Obama has their back.”

Democrats and Republicans speaking as one with the president?

It’s obviously an election year.

 

 

 

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