Military family groceries won't be cut, for now

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.

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.

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.

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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