Connecting Vets: Legislation would put refurbished computers into the hands of veterans

CONNECTING VETS, JULIA LEDOUX

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Congress that would provide refurbished federal computers to veterans, students, low-income families and underserved communities.

The Computers for Veterans and Students Act would help provide federal surplus and retired computers to non-profit computer refurbishers, who would then repair and distribute them.

The legislation was introduced July 10 by Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va.; Rob Wittman R-Va.; Elaine Luria D-Va.; and Denver Riggleman R-Va.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities created by the digital divide — and for the millions of U.S. households without a desktop computer or laptop, this divide has been particularly challenging to navigate,” said Spanberger in a statement released by all four legislators.

President Bill Clinton created the Computers for Learning program in 1996 as a mechanism to donate federal surplus computers to schools and educational non-profits for reuse. However, the CFL prohibits the federal government from transferring surplus computers to third-party computer refurbishers, the statement reads.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, the bill would eliminate that restriction and require each non-profit refurbisher to provide training programs in the use of the technology.

“This is a prime example of innovative non-profits working hand-in-hand with the government to provide effective solutions for our nation’s veterans,” said Wittman.

Tech for Troops, a Virginia-based, veteran-staffed and operated organization, is one of the non-profits that could provide the refurbished computers to vets and students under the legislation.

“By supporting this bill, you will allow Tech For Troops to directly make a powerful impact in the lives of Veterans and their families in need, here and across the entire country, with training and jobs that will benefit them now and our economy in the future while further enabling our turn-key e-waste solutions,” said Tech for Troops Executive Director Mark Casper.

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