CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 8, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1171, the FOR VETS Act of 2013. The bill was introduced on March 14, 2013 by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI), and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which reported the bill by voice vote.
H.R. 1171 permits Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to obtain property designated under the Federal Surplus Property Program. This bill will authorize the transfer of federal property to state agencies for distribution to VSOs that are recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) and whose membership comprises substantially of veterans.
The original FOR VETS Act was signed into law in December, 2010. The legislation granted eligibility to certain VSOs to receive surplus property through the Federal Surplus Property Program. This program allows nonfederal organizations to obtain personal property that the federal government does not need. However, only certain types of agencies are qualified to receive this property, and the States Agencies for Surplus Properties maintains a list of eligible organizations. The wording of the original FOR VETS Act suggests that VSOs must demonstrate that they are attempting to acquire surplus property for the purpose of education or public health, which has prevented many VSOs from accessing federal surplus lands (as many VSOs are not set up to administer health or education programs). The legislation is set up to correct this error in language and allows any VSO that meets required qualifications for the Federal Surplus Property Program to have access to surplus property.
CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget, and would not affect revenues.
For questions or further information contact David Smentek in the Conference Policy Shop at 5-5107.