President Bush, left, greets troops at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq in Sept. 2007. Bush vetoed the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 29. Until a new version of the legislation is enacted, all new bonus agreements signed on or after Jan. 1 must include an addendum that stipulates the soldier's eligibility for a future bonus. ()
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The Army has temporarily halted bonus payments for more than 20 enlistment, re-enlistment and service extension programs pending enactment of authorizing legislation.
President Bush, to the surprise of Congress and the Defense Department, vetoed the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 29 after months bargaining with House and Senate leaders.
In announcing the pocket veto, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president objected to a single provision of the legislation that would delay the reconstruction of Iraq, and expose the Iraqi government to unwarranted law suits in U.S. courts.
If enacted as currently written, the legislation would authorize $696.3 billion in defense spending during 2008, including $1 billion for Army accession and retention bonuses.
Until a new version of the legislation is enacted, all new bonus agreements signed on, or after, Jan. 1 must include an addendum that stipulates the soldier's eligibility for a future bonus.
However, the addendum also stipulates that the bonus is not guaranteed. Payments will not be made if the affected bonus program is not authorized in the final budget compromise.
If Congress fails to authorize a bonus, the soldier — officer or enlisted — still must meet the re-enlistment or service extension requirements of the contract.
Soldiers whose service contracts expire during the impasse have the option of extending month by month until the problem is worked out, or sign a service agreement on the assumption that a new authorization bill will be enacted.
Bonus programs affected by the impasse are targeted at officers and enlisted soldiers of the active and reserve components. Specifically they are:
Bonuses and special pays for the active component
• Special pay for career aviation officers who extend their active duty service
• Re-enlistment bonuses
• Enlistment bonuses
• Retention incentives for soldiers qualified in critical military skills or assigned to high priority units
• Accession bonuses for officers in critical skills
• Reclassification bonuses to ease personnel shortages in selected specialties
• Accession bonuses for officer candidates
• Army enlistment referral bonuses
Bonuses and special pays for reserve forces
• Special pay for Selected Reserve health care professionals in critically short-handed wartime specialties
• Re-enlistment bonuses for members of the Selected Reserve.
• Bonuses for affiliation or enlistment in the Selected Reserve
• Bonus affiliation for enlistment in the Selected Reserve
• Special pay for members of the Selected Reserve who are assigned to high priority units.
• Bonuses for enlistment in elements of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve.
• Prior service enlistment bonuses
• Repayment of education loans for certain health professionals who serve in the Selected Reserve.
Health professionals on active duty
• The Nurse Corps Officer Candidate Program
• Accession bonuses for registered nurses
• Special pay for nurse anesthetists
• Accession bonuses for dental officers
• Accession bonuses for pharmacy officers
• Accession bonuses for medical officers in critically short-handed wartime specialties
• Accession bonuses for dental specialist officers in critically short-handed wartime specialties