McMorris Rodgers, Panetta Introduce Legislation to Ensure Military Families Have Access to Essential Nutrition Assistance Programs

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) today introduced the bipartisan Military Family Nutrition Act of 2022 to ensure military families at Fairchild Air Force Base and across the country have access to safety-net nutrition assistance programs by removing unintended barriers preventing some from qualifying for these programs during times of crisis. 

“Our nation’s servicemembers put their lives on the line for our country every day. Too often, junior members of the military and their families experience food insecurity, and current law makes it difficult for them to access important safety-net nutrition programs,” said Rodgers. “Today, inflation is forcing families to stretch their paychecks further, and military families are not immune. That’s why I’m proud to help lead on the Military Family Nutrition Act to take an important first step towards cutting through red tape that has prevented families at Fairchild and beyond from accessing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during times of crisis.” 

This 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. This simple but important fix will allow more service members to qualify for the food assistance program.

“It’s shocking that there are military members and their families who are forced to access the supplemental nutrition assistance programs.  However, it’s shameful that many of those same members and their families are ineligible to access those assistance programs because of unintended barriers,” said Panetta. “Our bipartisan Military Family Nutrition Access Act would amend SNAP income calculations to more accurately reflect the level of food insecurity among active service members.  The least that we can do in Congress is to ensure that those who provide our national security have food security.”

“We are proud that several thousand members of the military call Central and Eastern Washington home, including those serving at the Yakima Training Center Army Base and Fairchild Air Force Base outside Spokane,” said Jason Clark, President and CEO of Second Harvest Inland Northwest. “At the same time, it’s troubling to see first-hand how many military families are facing hunger.  The Military Family Nutrition Access Act, co-sponsored by Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, is a key step in balancing the scales for the women and men who bravely serve our country by correcting a quirk that overestimates their incomes. It is one way to ensure military families can afford nutritious food.”

Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

CLICK HERE to read the bill. 

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