Local Charities Gain Access to Federal Discount Pricing Under Cao Measure Approved by House

September 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure authored by Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-02) to make government discount prices for supplies and services available to local and national disaster relief and recovery organizations such as Catholic Charities of New Orleans and the Salvation Army, which played such a vital role in southeast Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

The measure was presented to the full House in the form of Cao’s amendment to Senate Bill 2868. Its passage by voice vote followed a speech by Cao on the House floor. Cao told colleagues, “When this bill came over from the Senate, it was limited to the American Red Cross, but during our committee mark-up, I offered an amendment expanding S. 2868 to make all qualified non-profit organizations–nationwide and local–eligible to purchase from the federal supply schedules.”

Cao explained, “My district, Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, located in New Orleans, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the wake of the hurricane, I observed the multitude of non-profit organizations beyond the American Red Cross that provided disaster relief to the city. In addition to widely recognized national organizations, local relief organizations are also invaluable. They have on-the-ground knowledge of the greatest local needs and how to fulfill those needs.”

The bill, which now goes back to the Senate for approval of Cao’s amendment before heading to the President’s desk, will grant relief and recovery organizations such as Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army access to the federal government’s General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules Program. Under that program, the GSA establishes long-term, government-wide contracts with commercial vendors providing more than 11 million supplies and services to government agencies at volume discount pricing.

Cao said, “No one is more keenly aware than the people of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish of how important disaster relief and recovery organizations are in a crisis. Organizations such as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross were there for us during Katrina and other storms as well as the oil spill. We want to show our appreciation and respect for the work that they do, and assist them in every way possible. This bill is one way of providing that support.”

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