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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Comment: If they are paying attention, this is precisely why I will no longer give a dime to the Republican Senatorial Committee. The legislator don't give a damn about anything but themselves.
Submitted by: mello6 on December 2, 2013
Comment: This nation has an obligation to its Service Members and their families. Any politician who suggests defaulting on this obligation does not deserve to hold public office. Service Members and their families continuously make sacrifices for this nation; at the very least, the nation can show application and support in recognizing those sacrifices. Congress should look at reducing their salaries as the first order of business. Lead by example!
Submitted by: Proud to Serve on November 22, 2013
Comment: During my first years in the military, I was encouraged to stay in partly with the medical and commissary privileges promised each retiree along with 50% of my BASE pay. With that in mind I did 22 years in the service. Today, they can not keep up with the COLA, threatening to take away are commissary privileges along with thinking about retirees using a civilian health insurance plan. What is left to entice someone to stay in for 20 any more? oh wait, you will probably have to stay in for 30 to retire with 30% in the near future...
Submitted by: Woodysan on September 23, 2013
Comment: Once again the congress has proven they are the most inept group of politicians this country has ever put in office. When was the last time you ever saw a real "statesman" who really cared about our country.
Submitted by: Larry on August 29, 2013
Comment: All this while congress gets ready for their annual 3-weeks paid leave on us, the taxpayer...this is getting old...
Submitted by: RET_Airborne on August 6, 2013
Comment: I never shop in a commissary because there is not one within reasonable driving distance.
Submitted by: on August 5, 2013
Comment: I am deeply concerned about the loss of benefits in general for the military community. The Post Exchange now does not have the value it had except for not having to pay state sales tax (which continues to rise). The commissaries are one of the last decent benefits left. I strongly oppose Senator Tom Coburn's efforts to take these benefits away. If you want a motivated and effective combat force you had better take care of them. The US Government places soldiers in harm’s way, much different than a civilian occupation. Not to mention the fact that military families endure family separation, lower pay than their civilian counterparts, exposure to far more danger and a far more disciplined and controlled life than any civilian would tolerate. You cannot treat them like civilians.
Submitted by: TRC on August 5, 2013
Comment: Commissary is a wonderful place our military families utilize. It seems like every good thing the politicians want to go after. HANDS off all military benefits. We've sacrifice enough with our love ones.
Submitted by: Summer on December 20, 2012
Comment: service members are the ones doing our country the real service not politicians who are actively robbing the american people of all our freedoms and rights, bankrupting us untill our children will wake up homeless on this continent our fathers conquered
Submitted by: nathan n on December 19, 2012
Comment: It's a shame that with all the costly benefits members of congress enjoy, the few benefits of our service members are the ones that are always in jeopardy. Priorities need to be set and our military members and their families need to be properly cared for so that those who put their lives on the line to protect our country can do so without worrying about the difficulties of meeting their families needs.
Submitted by: Cynthia M on December 18, 2012
Comment: Hasn't this country put our men through enough?! The President should figure out a way to cut funds elsewhere. Stop taking from those that protect our freedom!
Submitted by: DevilPup33 on December 15, 2012
Comment: Even retirees use the commissary...When you retire you only get that base pay not all the extras so using the commissary is a way to strecth that dollar. We drive over 3 hours just to go and stock up to help the budget last longer. don't take another benefit from us.
Submitted by: Sarge on December 15, 2012
Comment: This is crazy! Why keep trying to cut things that benefits our military families? Please leave the Commisary alone and find other things to cut.
Submitted by: on December 14, 2012
Comment: This is horrible. Our families sacrifice so much , our loved ones put their lives on the line and benefits continue to be threaten. I strongly urge for this to be carefully reconsidered .....
Submitted by: Cbr on December 12, 2012
Comment: let us keep our commissary!
Submitted by: allen on December 12, 2012
Comment: You want our families to put their lives on the line to defend this nation, pay wages that are so low our youngest families are eligible for food stamps and you send TRILLIONS of our dollars to other countries and you want to take our Commissary's away. SHAME ON YOU ALL! You can't get along, can't make a budget and stick to it and you are the saddest leadership this country has ever seen. Grow up, get the budget done, stop bickering like children, stop sending our tax dollars to other country's till you fix ours and act like the leaders you are suppose to be!
Submitted by: on December 11, 2012
Comment: Please be considerate when looking at our commissary benefit. There are bases across the country that without a commissary service members and dependants would be driving for 30 min or more to buy groceries at higher prices. I ask that you keep our commissary benefits and cut spending where everyone overlooks the most, at the top. With the wages our service members get, cutting the commissary budget causing service members to drive further using more gas to get there could mean more families applying for food stamps and other state and federal assistance. Thank-you for your consideration in this matter.
Submitted by: Champion on December 8, 2012
Comment: wow, it seems each year, we are being threatened to have a fee raised or a benifit taken away. Military families, both Active and Retired , need to have some security in knowing that they will not be left to suffer without these things. We already know that soldiers are not paid near what they should be. I know we are now struggling as Retirees , and although the commissary for me is farther away than i would like...I love having the priviledge to shop there !! Please do not take away what so many of our families have earned
Submitted by: DKW on December 8, 2012
Comment: I need the commissary. I will driver an hour and half because that is how much of a blessing it is to be able to save money to feed my family..
Submitted by: Lauren on December 7, 2012
Comment: The Commissary for our family is worth driving 45 minutes each way once 2 times month to stock up on groceries. The value we get for the limited budget we have helps the kids get feed and survive.
Submitted by: Busy Army Spouse on December 7, 2012
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