House Passes Oversight Legislation to Help Veteran Service Organizations

Published: Jul 8, 2013

WASHINGTON – Today, on a vote of 387-1, the House of Representatives approved legislation advanced by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to make it easier for veteran service organizations to obtain surplus federal property.

“We owe our freedom to the servicemen and women who have bravely defended our nation. As we welcome them home, we should also help them transition back into civilian life,” said Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., Committee member and cosponsor of the legislation. “The passage of the FOR VETS Act will ensure that our veterans have the tools needed to succeed. I urge the Senate to act immediately, and to put this bi-partisan piece of legislation up for a vote.”

H.R. 1171, the Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act of 2013 or FOR VETS Act, will add veteran services to the list of eligible uses for surplus federal property offered to not-for-profit groups through the Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program.

When federal agencies no longer need surplus property like office supplies, furniture and motor vehicles, the items are eligible to be donated to public service organizations for education or health care related services.  In 2010, Congress added veterans service organizations to the list of eligible organizations. However, under current law veteran service organizations cannot receive surplus property to use toward the full range of services they provide to veterans.

The FOR VETS Act of 2013 was introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. The bill does not have a Congressional Budget Office score and will not impact the federal budget. The Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program does not apply to federal buildings or federal land.