Durbin, Blumenthal Introduce Bill To Support Veteran-Owned Small Business

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation today that would give veteran-owned small businesses access to surplus federal property, reducing overhead costs and helping these small businesses grow. The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act would expand the Government Service Administration’s excess federal property program, which makes available items that federal agencies no longer need – from computers and office furniture to tools and construction equipment.

“This bill encourages small business growth and gives veterans new opportunities succeed,” Durbin said. “Veterans throughout Illinois have already contacted me to let me know how the surplus property program could help them reduce overhead costs and invest those resources in growing their business and creating jobs.”

“This bill provides long-awaited solutions for small businesses and veterans, both of which power our economy and are critical to continued job growth in Connecticut and across the country,” Blumenthal said. “In communities everywhere, veterans manufacture products, provide services, and employ their neighbors. Expanding these resources to the men and women who served our country will allow them to fuel our economy.”

Senator Durbin spoke about the bill yesterday on the Senate Floor. Video of his speech is available here.

The Government Service Administration’s excess federal property program allows participants to claim items for their business if they demonstrate a justifiable need for the property and they agree to pay for shipping and handling. Minority-owned small businesses have participated in the program since 1999, and the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act would allow veteran-owned small businesses to participate, as well.

The program benefits both the federal government and the non-profits and small businesses that participate in it. If unclaimed, the federal government must dispose of the excess property – a costly and time-consuming undertaking. The National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property, which helps facilitate the GSA’s excess federal property program, estimates that taking surplus property off the federal government’s hands and pairing it with those who could use it saved the U.S. $200 million in 2013.