Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC 1) Voted Against H.R. 1171. While LLPH had no opinion on this bill, it was worth noting that he was the sole “no” vote on this bill.
Today I voted against H.R. 1171, which would have given Veterans Service Organizations the ability to obtain property from the Federal Surplus Property Program. The bill ultimately passed 387-1. While I was the lone vote in opposition, transfers such as this have been a long-standing concern of mine. In 1999, I offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have stopped the Defense Department practice of giving away surplus equipment to local government. I had eight years of real experience with this practice as Governor and opposed it then as well because, regardless of the merits of the recipient organization, assigning no cost to government assets in my view harms the taxpayer.
I sincerely believe that if we are to make good decisions in government, they need to reflect the real cost of the decision. The process of giving assets away deprives taxpayers of both the value of that property and a clear understanding of what government really costs. To make prudent decisions in government, I believe it is important to operate with real numbers that can never be reflected when government makes it a practice to give away assets. It is especially troubling that the federal government is continuing this practice while borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar it spends.
My vote is in no way a reflection of my view of the great work done by veterans organizations like the ones considered in this bill, but ultimately, the principles of prudent property management and government transparency require that the government receive fair market compensation in return for the transfer of any surplus property.
We are not for or against this bill. But we were very impressed by the strong, conservative explanation that Rep. Sanford made. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll307.xml