America’s soldiers may be earning their pay during the government-shutdown showdown, but they aren’t able to buy groceries at military commissaries.
All 175 commissaries in 46 states and the District of Columbia were closed indefinitely on Wednesday, a Defense Commissary Agency spokesman confirmed.
“We are closed until the government shutdown is resolved,” DECA media specialist Kevin Robinson said.
The commissaries are military grocery stores that sell food items to soldiers, retirees, and their families at cost plus a modest surcharge. Patrons save about 30 percent on their food bills compared with commercial groceries; little wonder the commissary benefit is consistently rated the most popular perk of military service in customer surveys.
Sixty-eight commissaries in 12 countries, Puerto Rico, and Guam will remain open, however.
Ironically, many patrons of shuttered domestic commissaries are family members of a “sponsor” serving in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and other hot spots. They’re struggling to make ends meet at home alone, and their grocery bill just surged.
“You can be sure a lot of those House Republicans will start hearing from their military constituents about this,” one locked-out commissary patron fumed.
Many commissaries are located at bases throughout the South in congressional districts represented by many House GOP lawmakers adamantly opposed to funding the government unless Obamacare is defunded or delayed.
Military families plainly saw the crunch coming, however, and prepared for the shutdown as they might have in advance of a hurricane — by blitzing commissaries and cleaning off store shelves.
Total commissary sales for the last day the commissaries were open totaled $30.6 million, more than double the normal daily volume, and the top sales day in 13 years.
What We're Following See More »
A day after saying he could not yet support Donald Trump's presidential bid, House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited the billionaire to a meeting in Washington next week with House leadership. Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also meet separately with Trump.
"President Obama used the White House podium on Friday to dismiss Donald Trump as an unserious candidate to succeed him, and said leading the country isn't a job that's suited to reality show antics." At a briefing with reporters, the president said, "I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny."
In the The White House on Thursday night unveiled a series of executive actions to combat money laundering—"among the most comprehensive response yet to the Panama Papers revelations." The president's orders will tighten transparency rules, close loopholes that allow "foreigners to hide financial activity behind anonymous entities in the U.S., and demand stricter “customer due diligence” rules for banks.
The #NeverTrump movement is now mulling the idea of recruiting a candidate to run as an independent or under a third-party banner. But who might it be? The Hill offers a preliminary list.
- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
- Mitt Romney
- 2012 (and perhaps 2016) Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson
- Former Marine Gen. John Kelly
- Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
- Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
The U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs in April, a "mildly disappointing" result relative to the 200,000 expected, according to the New York Times' Neil Irwin. On the plus side, hourly earnings were up 2.5% from a year ago. But on the other hand, "the labor force shrank by 362,000 people and the labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points."