Key U.S. House Committee Votes to Pass Spanberger’s Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Refurbished Government Computers to Veterans, Students, & Seniors in Need

The Congresswoman’s Bipartisan Bill Would Allow Non-Profit Refurbishers to Repair Federal Computers and Distribute to Veterans, Students, Low-Income Families, & Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted unanimously today to advance U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan bill that would help provide federal surplus and repairable computers to non-profit computer refurbishers — who would then repair and distribute these computers to veterans and others in need.

Spanberger’s bipartisan Computers for Veterans and Students Act — which she reintroduced in May 2021 — would allow certified, nonprofit refurbishing organizations to directly obtain, refurbish, and distribute repairable, surplus government computers to serve veterans, students, and seniors in need. Additionally, the legislation would require each nonprofit computer refurbisher receiving computers to provide training programs in the use of this technology.

“Millions of households across the United States do not have access to a laptop or desktop computer. In our increasingly digital world, this lack of resources can create a significant opportunity gap — particularly for many veterans. The Computers for Veterans and Students Act would help level the playing field,” said Spanberger. “By cutting red tape and allowing more computers to be refurbished rather than tossed in the trash, our bipartisan bill would give this technology a new life and make sure more Virginians have the tools they need to succeed. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Oversight Committee for recognizing the need for real solutions to address the significant disadvantage faced by so many in our communities, and I will continue to push this meaningful legislation forward.”

This legislation is backed by several nonprofit organizations, including Tech for Troops — a Virginia-based, veteran-staffed and operated organization — that would help veterans and students receive these refurbished computers. Click here for additional supporting organizations.

BACKGROUND

In 1949, Congress created the Federal Surplus Personal Property Program through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. This program transfers nonessential federal property from the federal government to authorized State Agencies for Surplus Property, who then serve local units of government, businesses, nonprofits, and other eligible recipients.

However, not all of this property — including computers and other technology equipment — is immediately usable, and the federal government does not currently have the authority to transfer this repairable equipment to third-party computer refurbishers. This restriction has resulted in waste and inefficiency, as many recipients lack the funds or capacity to refurbish computers they receive through this program.

Spanberger’s legislation is co-led by U.S. Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) and Elaine Luria (D-VA-02).

The Computers for Veterans and Students Act was first introduced in July 2020. Click here to read the full bill text.

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