LI lawmakers offer $50M bill for vets groups

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A bipartisan bill to dedicate $50 million in federal block grant money each year to fix deteriorating veterans' meeting halls and posts was introduced in the U.S. House Thursday by two Long Island representatives to Congress.

The bill would allow nonprofit veterans groups to compete for grants of up to $200,000 to repair and improve existing facilities, according to the sponsors, Reps. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Peter King (R-Seaford) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.).

Bishop said the bill would "honor veterans for their service to our nation, and to our communities through service organizations when they return home."

"These organizations and their facilities serve big cities and small towns across America, and this bipartisan legislation recognizes and supports their vital role," Bishop said.

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Bishop directed $200,000 for the VFW Post in Rocky Point in 2009, and $150,000 for the Centereach VFW Post in 2008, according to his office. In 2010, Bishop wrote the original version of the legislation in 2010, and reintroduced it last year. But records show it did not make it out of committee.

Sponsors said the measure would not increase the federal deficit because it creates a grant pool of $50 million out of existing Community Development Block Grant funding.

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