By JAVIER MANJARRES
Americans were outraged that the Obama administration had categorized the Ft. Hood shooting as a criminal act, and not what it truly was, a terrorist act. To add insult to the act of terror that killed 13 American servicemen and injured dozens more, the terrorist, Nidal Hassan, has received about $300,000 in pay from the U.S. Army.
But now a group of U.S. Congressmen, including Florida Congressman Tom Rooney, who is a former U.S. Army JAG officer, and who once served as a prosecutor at Fort Hood, have cosponsored legislation to block the pay of Ft. Hood terror suspect Hassan.
The legislation, The Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act, also cuts out the pay of any other U.S. Military personnel arrested on any sex-related or capital offense.
“How can we justify the fact that the victims of the Ft. Hood attack and their families are fighting to get the benefits they deserve, while taxpayers have paid Nidal Hassan almost $300,000 to sit in a jail cell? This is unconscionable,” Rooney said. “Our bill is simple – if you’re awaiting trial for a serious crime, you can’t collect a salary from the American taxpayer.”
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The Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act (H.R. 2777) would:
· Modify Article 13 of the UCMJ to allow for suspension of pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces in confinement pending trial for rape, sexual assault, or a capital offense.
· Provide additional compensation to victims of these crimes and require that, in the event of conviction, the withheld salary funds be distributed to the victims of these crimes.
· Provide protections for those falsely accused, including the ability to apply for a waiver from the Secretary of the military branch concerned, and provide the full payment of the withheld salary if acquitted.