House Urges USDA to Treat Military Families Equally
Ramras’ HJR 24 seeks removal of BAH exclusion for school nutrition programs
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House today unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 24, which urges the Congress and federal Department of Agriculture to remove the basic allowance for housing exclusion within their school nutrition programs. House Judiciary Chair Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, whose district includes Ft. Wainwright, sponsored the resolution.
Military families of limited income who currently elect to live off base are being denied access to USDA school meal programs, including those for breakfast, lunch, and after school snacks, because they receive basic allowance for housing, or BAH, benefits, even though families who choose to remain on base and receive the BAH are not denied. The USDA counts the allowance as income, which can push a struggling family over the income threshold.
“We shouldn’t tolerate the unequal treatment given to the children of American military members,” Ramras said. “Military families already deal with significant hardships like long deployments and rotations. These men and women are defending our country, and with the exclusion we’re basically leaving their families defenseless when it comes to school meal programs. It’s an easy thing to fix – but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”HJR 24 now moves to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.