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 »
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.
"Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation today designed to help federal agencies update their aging technology—and this time, it has White House backing. Hurd worked alongside White House Office of American Innovation officials Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell in crafting and tweaking the legislation, and called their partnership an 'invaluable' part of the process."
"The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants—about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide—as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter. The majority of the job cuts, about 1,700, will come through attrition, while the remaining 600 will be done via buyouts."