Office of Rep. Marilyn Strickland announcement.
On October 25, 2023, U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) joins 19 colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committee leadership, urging them to retain language in the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) eliminating the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from income calculations when determining eligibility for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Basic Need Allowance (BNA) program.
“Caring for servicemembers and their families is the foundation of military readiness. It is unacceptable that the men and women who serve our country worry about putting food on the table,” said Rep. Strickland. “I am proud to join my colleagues and support the expansion of the Basic Needs Allowance Program to help take care of military families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and across the nation. We must uphold our end of the promise to our servicemembers and put an end to military hunger.”
The BNA program provides a monthly allowance to eligible low-income servicemembers with dependents. Removing BAH from income calculations when determining eligibility for the BNA would expand servicemember access and allow the DoD to meaningfully address food insecurity faced by some military families, support long-term efforts in solving military hunger, and improve overall military readiness.
According to a July 2022 study from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, 24 percent of all active duty servicemembers experienced some level of food insecurity over the prior 12 months, totaling more than 286,000 individuals. As it is currently implemented, the BNA reaches fewer than 3,000 servicemembers.
This bipartisan, bicameral letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-GA-02), Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Jill Tokuda (D-HI-02) and Susan Wild (D-PA-07) and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Peter Welch (D-VT).
Strickland continues to champion improvements for servicemembers and veterans quality-of-life issues as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the committee’s Qualify of Life Panel.