Military Families’ Commissary Benefit Threatened
Military families consistently tell us how much they value their Commissary and Exchange privileges. Families rely on the savings they get by shopping at the Commissary, and for families stationed overseas, the Commissary allows them to enjoy products from home that would otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable. The National Military Family Association has long worked to promote and protect these critical benefits to military families’ quality of life.
Knowing how important the Commissary is to military families, we are increasingly concerned about potential threats to this benefit. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has recently written a report about Department of Defense spending, The Department of Everything, which specifically targets the subsidy provided to the Commissaries by the federal government. This subsidy, about $1.5 billion per year, is used to pay for Commissary operating costs. This in turn allows the Commissary to keep its prices low. Eliminating the subsidy, as Senator Coburn proposes, would force the Commissary to raise its prices to make up for the loss of federal funds. Currently, military families who shop at the Commissary save more than 30% on their groceries. Without the Commissary subsidy, families will see those bills go up.
Commissaries will also potentially be affected by sequestration. Unless the President and Congress are able to reach a debt reduction agreement by January 2, government funds provided to the Commissary will drop by 9.4%. In order to absorb this loss of funding, Commissaries may be forced to reduce hours, cut services, or lay off some employees. This is especially concerning because so many Commissary employees are affiliated with the military, either family of active duty members or military retirees, retiree spouses or military veterans. Many employees would see work hours and, therefore, incomes cut.
We urge you to let Congress know how much you value your Commissary!
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Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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