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Veteran hunger

Nothing against professional athletes, but military members deserve to be the higher paid.

An athlete who can bounce or toss a ball exceptionally well can receive millions of dollars and live lavishly.

But, it strikes us that Americans who put their personal lives on hold for the purpose of national defense should be reimbursed fairly well, too.

They don’t receive millions, and even worse, some can’t get food stamps when their situation necessitates it.

Several senators, including Lisa Murkowski, introduced a bill within the past week aimed at preventing troops and military families from going hungry.

The Military Hunger Prevention Act fixes a federal law that prevents many low-income service members from accessing programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. It also fixes other programs to allow for service members to receive assistance.

Currently, they are allowed to rely on food pantries and food banks for emergency food assistance.

It’s appalling that any member of the military should be paid so little that food assistance is necessary, and Murkowski has said she’s working on correcting that situation.

Housing is another area in which low-income military members struggle.

Frankly, it’s unacceptable that service members must turn to this type of assistance at all.

A 2016 Government Accountability Office report showed that service members spent $21 million in food benefits between September 2014 and August 2015, according to a Murkowski press release. A 2013 Census Bureau survey found that 23,000 active-duty service members depended on food stamps.

It’s only since Congress adopted the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that the U.S. Department of Defense started collecting information about the number of service members who rely on food assistance programs.

Not all of these service members are in positions that place their lives on the line. But if they’ve decided to serve the nation, then the nation should promise them at least a basic, dignified existence when it comes to food and housing.

That’s not asking more than they deserve.