09.30.10

Senate Passes Leahy-Collins Bill To Make Veterans Groups Eligible To Receive Surplus Federal Property

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010) – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that would make veterans groups eligible to receive surplus property donations from the federal  government.  The Senate’s action clears the way for the House of Representatives to consider the Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act (FOR VETS Act).  The bill is cosponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).

The General Services Administration currently oversees the distribution of surplus federal property to eligible organizations, such as medical institutions, organizations that support the homeless, universities, and childcare facilities.  The Leahy-Collins bill would amend existing law to include veterans groups among the list of groups eligible to apply to receive surplus goods.  These materials include such things as computers, trucks, and home appliances.

“While it is only a small token of appreciation, this legislation gives back to veterans groups by allowing them access to a large inventory of goods that they could not otherwise access,” said Leahy.  “I appreciate the Senate acting swiftly to consider this bill. The FOR VETS Act is legislation for and about American veterans.”

“I am pleased with the Senate’s quick passage of this bill,” said Collins. “We should always look for ways to demonstrate our gratitude for the sacrifices our veterans have made on behalf of our nation. This legislation would allow veterans’ groups, which enhance the lives of countless servicemen and women each day, to enjoy the same access to surplus government property that other groups do.  It’s one more way to say ‘thank you’ to those Americans who have worn the uniform and to their families.”

The bipartisan FOR VETS Act is supported by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

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Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),

Chairman, Committee On The Judiciary,

On Passage Of The FOR VETS Act
September 29, 2010

The FOR VETS Act:

For And About

American Veterans

Today the Senate will pass sensible legislation with practical benefits for U.S. military veterans.  The bill I have offered will add military veterans to the list of groups eligible to receive excess property donations from the Federal Government.  This bill is a bipartisan effort to recognize the sacrifices that members of our armed forces make every day for our country, and I am proud to be its author.  While it is only a small token of appreciation, this legislation gives back to veterans groups by allowing them access to a large inventory of goods that they could not otherwise access.  I appreciate the Senate acting swiftly to consider this bill. 

The FOR VETS Act enables military veterans to receive surplus goods donations through the Federal Government’s property distribution program.  The types of goods donated through this program include computers, trucks, snowmobiles, home appliances and electronics.  These items will be of valuable use to our military veterans, and I am pleased to sponsor legislation that gives them the right to claim useful goods through this program.  The FOR VETS Act is legislation for and about American veterans.

The Administrator of General Services oversees this ongoing property liquidation and distribution program, which currently donates property to medical institutions, providers of assistance to the homeless, universities, and child care facilities, among others.  Given the surplus of available goods, military veterans’ groups are simply being added into this pool of recipients for property that might otherwise go unused. 

I thank the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Ranking Member, Senator Collins, for working with me on this bill.  This was a bipartisan effort, as legislation to support our veterans should always be, and I look forward to its prompt consideration by the House, and to the President signing it into law.

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