House Armed Services Committee Advances Measure to Curb Military Hunger as Part of National Defense Authorization Act

September 2, 2021

Early Thursday morning, the House Armed Services Committee voted to advance the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act to the full chamber. Included in this year’s bill is a provision that begins to address an issue that Congress has neglected for far too long: food insecurity among currently-serving military families.

For nearly a decade, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger has been concerned about this issue, and today the national anti-hunger organization is leading policy efforts to ensure that all servicemembers can provide enough regular, nutritious food for their families. In response to today’s vote, Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO, issued the following statement:

“Today’s vote is the first step towards rectifying a longstanding and shameful burden placed on our military community. The reliance on food banks and charitable donations simply to ensure the families of servicemembers do not go hungry is a national embarrassment, and with this provision we can begin to close the gap between what is needed and what is provided.

I want to thank Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Don Young, whose pursuit of a legislative solution to this problem ensured that these vital provisions were included in this bill. Its committee passage marks an important moment — this would truly make a meaningful difference to thousands of military families, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other families of color who are more likely to comprise junior ranks.

Hunger, in a country as bountiful as ours, is an indignity no person should have to face — least of all families who already sacrifice so much. We strongly urge our leaders in Washington to support measures to alleviate food insecurity and abide by the same creed as our soldiers: treat others with dignity and respect and expect others to do the same.”

Building off of the alarming findings from its April report, “Hungry in the Military: Food Insecurity Among Military Families in the U.S.”, MAZON is pushing for Congress to advance solutions and for the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that all servicemembers can access nutrition safety net programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps).