New Jersey lawmakers criticized the Pentagon’s decision to close the commissary at Fort Monmouth next month, saying it would harm thousands of service members, military families and retirees.
“The commissary is a critical resource for military families and this will only serve to heighten the impact of the base closure. We will continue to do everything in our power to support the military retirees and their families who have already sacrificed so much,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), one of four lawmakers that issued a joint press release.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D) told the Asbury Park Press that the decision was at least partially caused by last week’s agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Pallone said he was told by Clifford Stanley, DOD’s undersecretary for personnel and readiness, that the uncertainty in the level of spending cuts that would result from the deal was “one of the reasons, if not the primary reason, why they decided to close.”
The closure decision came in spite of a request from Army Secretary John McHugh. After members of the state’s congressional delegation met with him, McHugh recommended in February that the commissary remain open for a transitional two-year period following Monmouth’s closure.