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McGovern, Reschenthaler Lead Bipartisan Effort Urging Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture to Address Food Insecurity Among Military Families

Following a recent Rules Committee roundtable examining hunger in the military, members are urging increased support for servicemembers, veterans, and military families experiencing food insecurity

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Washington, June 29, 2021 | comments

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) led a bipartisan group of Rules Committee Members in a letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack urging them to address hunger and food insecurity among military families.

The member’s letter follows a recent Rules Committee roundtable examining the hunger crisis among veterans and military families, where Members of the Rules Committee heard from experts about the unique challenges that military families and veterans face—particularly surrounding frequent relocation and the stigma of acknowledging food insecurity. McGovern is also asking Americans to share their experiences, research, and possible solutions to help guide the committee in this work, and is calling for a substantive, policy-focused White House hunger conference to create the roadmap to end hunger by 2030.

“We cannot solve hunger in America without addressing the often-silent epidemic of food insecurity among those who serve our country in uniform. They put their lives on the line for us. The very least we can do is ensure they and their families have enough to eat. We’re sending this letter because it’s time to cut through the red tape, push past the silos, and examine what reforms need to be made to ensure that no veteran or military family ever has to wonder where there next meal is coming from,” said Chairman McGovern.

“As a Navy veteran, I am deeply committed to ensuring both active duty servicemembers and our veterans never have to worry about finding their next meal,” said Reschenthaler. “These brave men and women, and their families, have made incredible sacrifices for our nation, and we owe it to them to find bipartisan solutions that end food insecurity. I am proud to join Chairman McGovern and my Rules Committee colleagues on this critical effort to end hunger among our military families.”

Some of the member’s suggestions include: improving data collection on military hunger; removing the Basic Allowance for Housing from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program calculation; examining how base pay increases would ease food insecurity; reforming Basic Allowance for Subsistence for servicemembers and their families; and expanding on-site pantries and diet-related programs at VA medical centers.

“Our military families and veterans deserve nothing less than our nation’s ongoing commitment to them and their children. And that commitment must include the promise that no one who served – nor their family members – goes without the food they need to live a healthy life.  If we work together across your department’s jurisdictions to find new solutions, we can keep this promise,” conclude the Members in their letter, which was also signed by Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Deborah K. Ross (D-NC), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.

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