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

The U.S. House of Representatives Voted Unanimously to Pass the Congresswoman’s Legislation in July 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted unanimously 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, students, and others in need.

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

In July 2022, the U.S. House unanimously passed the bipartisan legislation.

“As more hiring processes, educational opportunities, and jobs move online, the millions of American households that do not have access to a laptop or desktop computer are at a significant disadvantage. My bipartisan Computers for Veterans and Students Act would help close this significant opportunity gap,” said Spanberger. “Our legislation would cut red tape to reduce waste and give surplus computers — which otherwise might be locked away in a storage closet or tossed in the trash — a new life that could make a real difference in the life of a veteran, student, or senior. I am grateful to my Senate colleagues for recognizing the opportunity this bill presents for Virginians and Americans across our communities who stand to benefit, and I will continue to push this legislation forward to be signed into law.”

This legislation is backed by several nonprofit organizations that help veterans and students receive these refurbished computers — including Tech for Troops, a Virginia-based, veteran-staffed, and veteran-operated organization. According to a recent report from S&P Global, Tech for Troops recycled and refurbished more than 112,000 pounds of equipment in 2021 alone. 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 and reintroduced during the 117th Congress in May 2021. Click here to read the full bill text.

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