MAZON Urges Congress to Prioritize Military Families’ Basic Needs in Final NDAA

June 14, 2024

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included important provisions designed to address food insecurity and also included several “poison pill” provisions to advance the Republican majority’s conservative agenda. MAZON expressed serious concern about this approach and urged members of the House and Senate to prioritize solutions to food insecurity as fundamental needs, in the final bill later this year.

“Being able to feed your family is not about quality of life — it’s about basic needs,” said Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO. “Every person, regardless of circumstance, must be able to feed themselves and their families. This must include military families who sacrifice so much for our country. According to the Defense Department’s own figures, nearly one in four military families face food insecurity. This is not only shameful, but alarmingly impacts mission readiness, troop retention, and future recruitment. Each year, the NDAA presents an opportunity to improve the lives of servicemembers, but some in Congress continue to pervert the process to advance their own draconian political agenda. We cannot let this happen. Everyone deserves dignity, respect, and to have their basic needs met — including the ability to feed themselves and their families.”

For over a decade, MAZON has been calling attention to the crisis of food insecurity among military families, and particularly junior enlisted service members with families. MAZON devised and worked with key champions in Congress to create the Military Family Basic Needs Allowance (BNA), which was enacted in the FY22 NDAA. The House-passed FY25 NDAA would substantially improve the BNA by increasing eligibility for service members whose base pay is at or below 200 percent (up from 150 percent) of the Federal Poverty Level and exclude a service member’s Basic Allowance for Housing from their income eligibility for the program.