Blog | January 28, 2019

Former Coast Guard Commandant Speaks Out Against Government Shutdown and Lack of Consistent Funding

In an op-ed, Admiral (Ret.) James Loy discusses how the shutdown created uncertainty for schools and families seeking to provide proper nutrition to children

Admiral James Loy

By Ben Goodman, National Director, Mission: Readiness

As you probably know, last week, Congress and the administration reached a short-term resolution to the federal government shutdown by approving a three-week continuing resolution that will expire on February 15. During this shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history, we saw news outlets begin to report about the danger a lapse in appropriations could create for key nutrition programs.

Lapses in these critical programs would have a widespread impact on our nation’s children, including those who may one day choose to serve in the military. Further, it would have created additional stress for Coast Guardsmen and women who had been working for weeks without pay during the shutdown, and whose families were forced to rely on federal nutrition programs to avoid food insecurity.

Admiral James Loy with school lunch
Admiral Loy eats school lunch at an elementary school in New London, Conn., home of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Over the weekend, the Newport News Daily Press (VA) published an op-ed by Mission: Readiness member and former Coast Guard Commandant Admiral (Ret.) James Loy discussing the detrimental impact the federal government shutdown has had on our nation’s children. Admiral Loy previously served as the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security.

In his op-ed, Admiral Loy discusses how the shutdown and a lack of consistent federal appropriations has created uncertainty for schools and families seeking to provide proper nutrition to children. He notes that school meal programs are being taxed by an influx of students who newly qualify for free and reduced meals due to their parents being furloughed during the shutdown, and that schools are unsure if they will even be reimbursed for providing meals to students in need if the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not receive long-term funding. While schools have to make tough decisions about where they can find money to continue feeding students, students must also face the possibility that they will not be able to access nutrition at home due to potential lapses in appropriations for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

While short-term food insecurity may not make or break a child’s future, we must realize that these nutrition programs are rooted in providing long-term stability and health for our children and national security.

Admiral (Ret.) James Loy

Although the federal government shutdown has ended with the passage of a three-week stop-gap continuing resolution, schools and families are still faced with uncertainty as to whether there will be another shutdown and if they will be able to provide children with the proper nutrition they need to succeed and stay healthy. As Admiral Loy states in his op-ed, the failure of the federal government to provide consistent appropriations for critical programs is totally irresponsible.

Mission: Readiness stands ready to support legislative efforts that would provide long-term appropriations to USDA and much needed consistency to schools and families. The nutrition programs at stake are critical to the future of our country and our national security.

Click here to read Admiral Loy’s op-ed.


Admiral James Loy

U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)