Rep. Susan Davis, D-California, is right to spotlight the sad fact that low-paid members of the military struggle to buy food for their families in areas where shelter is expensive. The housing allowances these families receive count as income in determining eligibility for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as food stamps.

“(The) military pay structure is not designed for junior military families in high-cost areas,” the San Diego Democrat said Wednesday. “Of all the sacrifices military families make, putting food on the table should not be one of them.” Davis wants the defense budget bill now being finalized by the House and Senate to include a “basic needs allowance” for military members whose basic pay is at or less than 130% of the federal poverty level, which is $25,100 for a family of four.

Given that the Trump administration adamantly opposes Davis’ proposal as a de facto pay raise, another option might be to adopt changes in the rules for SNAP so military families in expensive places like San Diego can get the food assistance they deserve. But one way or another, Congress and the administration must fix this problem. Some military families should not have to rely on charity food banks to have enough to eat. That’s a basic need.

Editorial by The San Diego Union-Tribune

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