House passes Benishek’s legislation

 WASHINGTON, DC: The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed Dr. Dan Benishek’s (MI-01) legislation to provide Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.

“From refrigerators to use at a local post to spare vehicles for parades, access to surplus property helps the veterans’ organizations up here in Northern Michigan better serve their members. But there’s needless Washington regulations that are preventing our veterans from getting access to these items. This common sense bill will get rid of these boneheaded federal rules and ensure veterans have access to the surplus items they deserve,” said Dr. Benishek, a general surgeon who worked in the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center for 20 years.

Veterans’ organizations are eligible for surplus property.  However, under current law, all organizations must demonstrate that they are acquiring the property for educational or public health purposes.  Under a strict interpretation of this law by the Obama Administration, VSOs have been prevented from receiving such surplus property as office supplies, furniture, or vehicles.  Dr. Benishek’s legislation will simply remove the education or public health restriction for qualified VSOs and allow these organizations to receive surplus property as Congress originally intended.

“In this tough economy our veterans’ organizations are trying to stretch their bucks a little further and being able to receive surplus property will make that easier. Every little bit helps our local VSOs. I am hopeful the Senate will now pass this measure and move it to the president’s desk,” added Dr. Benishek, Michigan’s only member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.