Joyce joins bipartisan call for 100% basic housing allowance for military members

In an effort to better support America’s military service members and their families, U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and almost 60 of his colleagues called on the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to restore the full Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). 

“The men and women who wear our nation’s uniform, and their families who sacrifice so much, shouldn’t have to worry about access to affordable and safe housing,” Rep. Joyce said. “Yet, that’s one of the concerns I hear about when I speak with northeast Ohio service members.”

Rep. Joyce added that congressional lawmakers should be doing everything they can to help military families meet the increased housing costs fueled by inflation and supply chain challenges. “Restoring the full Basic Housing Allowance is the right thing to do for service members and their families,” he said.

Rep. Joyce and dozens of his colleagues reiterated that stance in a Nov. 15 letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, pointing out that in 2015, the DOD reduced the proportion of money given to service members to 95 percent of calculated BAH, defining it as a cost-saving measure to balance the growth in compensation costs.

“While the department believes that imposing a 5 percent cost share shouldn’t financially burden military families, several studies have shown that this reduction harms the well-being of service members who live off and on military installations,” the lawmakers wrote. “Service members and their families should not have to shoulder the burden of DOD’s cost savings.”

The DOD’s decision to reduce BAH to 95 percent has resulted in underfunded reinvestment accounts at installations across the country, according to their letter, as well as less funds for long-term sustainment, more deferred maintenance, and ultimately a less satisfactory housing experience for military families.

“Restoring full 100 percent BAH will allow for greater funding for these reinvestment accounts and will restore the financial integrity to the MHPI [Military Housing Privatization Initiative] program,” wrote Rep. Joyce and his colleagues. “Service members and their families should not be nickel and dimed by the nation they volunteered to serve, especially as Congress has increased the defense budget by 39 percent in nominal terms.”

The bipartisan letter was led by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) and, in addition to Rep. Joyce, was signed by 57 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives.