Senate committee passes Hassan-backed bill to provide computers to veterans
WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced bipartisan legislation that U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan pushed for, including a bill to help provide surplus government computers to nonprofit computer refurbishers — who would then repair and distribute these computers to veterans and others who need them.
“This bipartisan bill will help more veterans, students, and seniors have access to a computer, which will help them to do everything from completing homework to making doctor’s appointments,” said Senator Hassan. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this commonsense, bipartisan bill.”
“Owning a computer is the foundation of digital equity and it’s the thing that unlocks opportunity for folks to be able to participate in the modern economy. Thanks to Senator Hassan and the support of the committee, this bill moves to the Senate floor, and if passed will make a large supply of free and low-cost devices available for veterans, students, seniors, and so many others who need it,” said Scot Henley, Executive Director of Digitunity, based in North Conway, NH. Digitunity is a national nonprofit focused on advancing digital equity through device ownership.
The 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.
Hassan also voted to pass additional critical bills through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, including:
• The bipartisan Access for Veterans to Records Act, which would help eliminate the current backlog of veterans’ record requests at the National Personnel Records Center, an issue that Senator Hassan has worked to address;
• The bipartisan Fire Grants and Safety Act, which would reauthorize critical Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs that local fire departments – including in New Hampshire — use to address staffing needs, purchase equipment, develop fire training and education programs, and improve emergency medical services. Senator Hassan successfully worked to increase funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program in the American Rescue Plan that was passed into law, and most recently, she worked to support funding a new fire engine for Berlin through this program;
• The bipartisan Illicit Border Tunnel Defense Act, which would better secure the southern border by directing Customs and Border Protection to develop a plan to counteract illegal underground tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border. Senator Hassan discussed this challenge with border agents during her visit earlier this year to the Southern border; and
• The bipartisan Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act, which would save taxpayer dollars by improving management of how the federal government purchases and uses software.