Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How's This For Appreciation?

You would think that government loans owed by US serviceman killed in the line of duty would be forgiven, at least my version of common sense would have assumed that to be true. But believe it or not, the VA has been trying to collect money from the estates of these fallen soldiers and though rare, they have gone after and collected over $56,000 from the families of 22 soldiers who died in the line of duty owing mainly GI Bill over-payments.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has introduced a bill (S 2536) that would relieve any VA owed debts, and if passed would be retroactive to Sept 11th, 2001 so that those already harassed by the VA in collection attempts will receive refunds. The bill seems to have bi-partisan support including from VA Secretary Dr. James Peake, so hopefully it will pass without problems but how would you like to be the guy from the VA that is tasked with calling family members of fallen soldiers and have to ask them to pay back these loans?

This proposal, while definitely long overdue, seems to be incomplete as it lacks any mention of debts owed to other government agencies such as the IRS. Why this obvious omission? I hope that during the debate process our legislators do the right thing and ensure that all government debts get forgiven, it is the right thing to do. After all haven't these individuals payed back any debts owed to Uncle Sam in spades already?

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