Press Releases

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, legislation that would open access to commissaries, exchanges and recreation facilities to new patrons, including Purple Heart recipients, Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war, veterans with service-connected disabilities and their designated caregivers.

“Expanding the commissary privilege is a small way that we can show our appreciation to this special and deserving group of veterans,” said Boozman, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “This will help them and their caregivers save money and support the commissary and exchange programs.” 

“If you have the Purple Heart, you should also have access to the commissary. It’s as simple as that,” said Schatz, Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “The added bonus to our bill is that it will strengthen the commissary system in the long run, which is good for both active duty personnel and American taxpayers.”

The senators also sent a letter to the House and Senate leaders of the Armed Services Committees asking them to include the bill in the final conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019. 

According to a 2017 Department of Defense review, expanding access to new patron groups would strengthen the commissary system, which is consistently ranked as the most important non-cash compensation benefit among service members, while reducing reliance on Congressional appropriations. 

The legislation is supported by several veteran service organizations, including the American Legion, AMVETS, Association of the U.S. Navy, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warrior Project.