The Pentagon has asked Bank of America to stop “hounding” U.S. troops who have overdue bills on government-issued credit cards, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times on Wednesday.
In response, the bank has indicated it will cut back on the number of collection calls it makes, defense officials are reported as saying.
The Pentagon’s check-writing office has fallen behind in reimbursing travel and other expenses for about 23,000 Army reservists and members of the Army National Guard, including reservists deployed at the Central Command in Tampa.
Pentagon officials blame the backlog on the scope of the war on terror.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., asked the Pentagon for a review of the problem. Nelson told the Times that Pentagon officials acknowledged “a serious backlog” and told him they were working to resolve it.
“We’re going to monitor it and make sure it is corrected, because this is inexcusable,” Nelson said. “Our troops ought to be honored, not harassed as a result of government ineptitude.”
Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, told the Times that the agency had been working with Bank of America “so the bank understands what the issue is.”
A transaction that used to take federal officials eight days to process now takes as many as 23 days, Hubbard said.