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Leaders praise vote on military commissaries

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., praised the 70-28 adoption of their amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), striking language that would have privatized five major military commissaries.

"Our military members, their families and our veterans depend on the commissary system. Privatization at this point in time, when the impacts have not been fully assessed and evaluated by (Department of Defense) and Congress, would jeopardize those benefits," Inhofe said. "The strong, bipartisan vote in the Senate clearly demonstrates the importance of preserving the commissary and the benefits that it provides to our servicemen and women. I applaud my colleagues in the Senate for standing up for our troops, their families and our veterans."

"I'm fighting to protect our commissaries because service members and their families deserve the benefits they've earned and a government on their side," Mikulski said. "Commissaries feed our troops. They help military families stretch their budgets, and they provide jobs to military spouses, teens old enough to work and military retirees. And commissaries are the military's most popular earned benefit. With this bipartisan amendment, we will keep commissary doors open to provide low-cost, healthy food to our service members and their families until we're certain there's a better alternative."

The DoD report titled "Plan to Obtain Budget Neutrality for Commissary and Exchange System" acknowledges that, "privatization would not be able to replicate the range of benefits, level of savings and geographic reach provided by DeCA (the Defense Commissary Agency) while achieving budget neutrality." The mandated Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of this plan is still under way.

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