WASHINGTON – The Senate has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would make veterans groups eligible to receive surplus property donations from the federal government. The Senate’s action Wednesday night 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.
“I am pleased with the Senate’s quick passage of this bill,” said Senator 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.”
“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 Senator Leahy. “I appreciate the Senate acting swiftly to consider this bill. The FOR VETS Act is legislation for and about American veterans.”
The bipartisan FOR VETS Act is supported by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.