Rep. Susan Davis Introduces Military Hunger Prevention Act

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Washington, July 17, 2019 | comments

Congresswoman Susan Davis, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced legislation to help low-income military families living with food insecurity. The Military Hunger Prevention Act, introduced with Rep. Don Young (R-AK), would create a basic needs allowance to bridge the gap for eligible servicemembers who are currently not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“We should be able to meet the basic needs of our military families,” said Davis. “Military families go where they are ordered and sometimes that means moving to areas with a higher cost of living. Add to these situations where a spouse might have trouble finding new employment and this becomes a recipe for food insecurity. Creating a basic needs allowance is a simple solution to the critical issue of food insecurity among some military families.” 

“For over seven years, we have been calling attention to food insecurity among military families, after learning that food pantries operate on or near every military installation in the country,” said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “We are proud and enthused that a solution is within sight—the Military Hunger Prevention Act would support military families in an efficient manner to eliminate barriers to assistance we have seen in the past including shame, stigma, lack of awareness, and fear of retribution. We are so grateful to Representatives Davis and Young for their leadership and partnership, and we urge all Members of Congress to support this critically important legislation.”

In high cost of living areas like San Diego, some families of junior enlisted servicemembers  struggle to put food on the table. Because of the way military pay is structured, military families who are eligible in other areas are often ineligible for SNAP when stationed in high cost of living areas like San Diego due to the inclusion of housing allowance in the eligibility calculation.  A basic needs allowance will help alleviate this problem.

As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Davis included the language from the Military Hunger Prevention Act in this year’s House version of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA passed the House in July. The House and Senate will conference to work out the differences between the House version and the Senate version, which was approved by the Senate in June. The Military Hunger Prevention Act was not in the Senate version of the NDAA. 

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