McMorris Rodgers Introduces Two Bills to Support Military Families

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) this week introduced the Military Family Nutrition Access Act and the Military Food Security Act to help struggling military families purchase nutritious meals by expanding eligibility for federal support and removing unintended barriers preventing some from qualifying for it.

“Inflation continues to send the cost of basic goods through the roof, and it’s making it difficult for civilian and military families alike to make ends meet,” said Rodgers. “Those who put on the uniform sacrifice enough. They should never have to worry about providing for their family, which is why these bipartisan bills are so important. While they’re not a silver bullet, they are an important first step towards rethinking the way we provide a safety net and temporary assistance to our servicemembers in their time of need.”

The Military Family Nutrition Access Act supports active-duty military families experiencing food insecurity by excluding Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)—a subset of military compensation 

intended to cover the costs of off-base housing—from income calculations used to determine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility. 

The Military Food Security Act allows more service members to qualify for the food assistance programs by expanding eligibility for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA), a program designed to support low-income servicemembers, by excluding Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from income calculations that determine eligibility for the BNA.  

“It’s unconscionable to think that there are those who serve our nation who go hungry.  Moreover, it’s absolutely unacceptable that they and their families are unable to access government food programs just because of a bureaucratic calculation,” said Panetta. “The Military Family Nutrition Act and the Military Food Security Act can fix that issue by removing certain barriers for that computation that would allow them easier access to assistance programs, like the Basic Needs Allowance and SNAP. It’s these types of commonsense bipartisan bills in Congress that need to get passed and signed into law to insure the health and wellbeing of our service members and their families who contribute so much to the security of our nation.”

NOTE: A February 2023 report from the Office of the Secretary of Defense in partnership with the RAND Corporation found that 25.8% of personnel in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard were suffering from food insecurity. Of that, nearly 70% were mid-career enlisted personnel.

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