WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Americans need computers more than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are surplus computers or computers that may no longer be needed by a federal agency, but yet still have significant utility,” Virginia Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger said.
Spanberger introduced the Computers for Veterans and Students Act, which would provide refurbished government computers to veterans, students and seniors.
“The pandemic has made clear just how reliant so many of us are on computers for everyday functions at home,” Spanberger said.
Virginia Republican Rep. Rob Wittman is co-sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives and he says the demand grows each day.
“For them to pursue an education, for them to be employed, so all those opportunities come with having this connectivity that comes through having a computer,” Wittman said.
This bill expands on a program from the Clinton administration, which donated computers to schools, but didn’t refurbish them. The bill would enlist nonprofits to help out.
“That’s where these third-party groups come in. To be able to take these computers, get them up to operational standards, both from a software standpoint and a hardware standpoint,” Wittman said.
The legislation would also reduce the amount of e-waste, and provide training on how to use the technology.
“If we can put those in the hands of seniors in need, of veterans of students, we can assure those computers are not going to waste,” Spanberger said.
Spanberger and Wittman say these computers will be replaced in a few years with the next batch of refurbished government tech.