Military family groceries won't be cut, for now

July 21, 2014: 10:42 AM ET
military commissary
Congress is putting off drastic cuts to military grocery stores.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney)

Military families can breathe a sigh of relief: their grocery stores are not going to be cut, for now.

A Senate budget panel voted late last week to restore $200 million in cuts for military grocery stores, called commissaries. The House has already voted on a similar resolution.

The cuts were part of broader Pentagon cuts slated over the next few years that aim to trim forces as the U.S. withdraws from overseas conflicts.

Related: $3,000 hike slated for miltiary family grocery bills

The commissaries, usually located in military bases, sell subsidized grocery items and are a life saver for struggling families in the armed services.

A family of four can save $4,500 a year at commissaries on average, according to the Defense Commissary Agency. Compared to regular grocery stores, the items are on average about 30% cheaper.

The proposed cuts would have shaved those savings to $1,500 a year.

Food stamp use among military rises again

Lawmakers agreed that the cuts can wait one more year, at least. A special military panel, mandated by Congress, is reviewing the commissaries and other military costs, including pay, in a report due out next February.

Each year, $1.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to run 178 commissaries nationwide and 67 located overseas.

More budget cuts loom at Pentagon

The Department of Defense had planned to slash $200 million in subsidies each year for the next five years, which would mostly affect the U.S. stores.

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