Legislative Update: National Service Lives to Fight Another Day
Posted by Zach Maurin on June 14, 2012
The Save Service Campaign sent an email this week with a HUGE positive step for national service (relative, of course, to the current political climate!). Keep reading for specific numbers from the Senate from our friends at Voices for National Service.
On Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin delivered exciting news to the national service community: the Appropriations Committee that he chairs approved a 2013 budget that includes $1.06 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) largely meeting President Obama’s budget request for AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and other key service initiatives. In today’s tight fiscal environment, meeting the President’s request is a tremendous win for national service.
Help us express our #saveservice gratitude by thanking @SenatorHarkin for his support of vital national service programs across the country. Tell him his action has made it possible for more to serve and more to benefit from the work these organizations do in our communities.
As always, the fight does not end here. The funding level approved by the Senate Committee is just one piece of the puzzle. The House of Representatives passed a Budget Resolution in March that calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The difference between the House ($0) and Senate ($1.06 billion) is significant. If we want Congress to ultimately approve the Senate’s high water mark, we need to put steady and consistent pressure on our legislators, urging them to take a stand for national service at a time when service organizations are more relied upon than ever.
Today, we celebrate Senator Harkin and the funding levels approved by the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. Tomorrow, we prepare to put the pressure back on.
Thank you for your continued hard work to save service.
President, Voices for National Service
Our friends at Voices for National Service put out a statement with more specifics for those interested in specific dollars figures:
On Tuesday afternoon, under the leadership of Senator Tom Harkin, the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee approved a fiscal year 2013 funding bill that includes $1.06 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This is the same level recommended by President Obama and represents at 1% increase over last year’s levels.
While more detail is expected to be released on Thursday after the Senate Appropriations Committee votes on the spending package, we know that the Subcommittee approved the following for the CNCS programmatic accounts:
- AmeriCorps State and National: $346.4 million (will support 74,000 AmeriCorps members and includes funding to increase the number of national service participants with disabilities)
- VISTA: $95.3 million (will support 7,400 AmeriCorps*VISTA members)
- NCCC: $30.7 million (will support 1,200 AmeriCorps*NCCC members)
- National Service Trust: $208.7 million (will fund Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for eligible AmeriCorps members who complete their terms of service)
- RSVP: $51.2 million (includes $1 million for technical assistance)
- Foster Grandparents (FGP): $110.6 million (sustains the FGP program at FY12 levels)
- Senior Companions (SCP): $46.7 million (sustains the SCP program at FY12 levels)
- Innovation, Assistance and Other Activities: $54.2 million
- State Service Commissions Administration Grants: $19.99 million (The Senate has recommended the consolidation of two accounts – State Commission Grants and Training and Technical Assistance.)
While it is important to note that these numbers don’t restore the 8% cut in funding that CNCS has sustained over the last two fiscal years, or reinstate Learn & Serve America, in today’s tight fiscal environment, this is a tremendous win for national service. As always, the fight does not end here. This Senate number is just one piece of the puzzle. The House wants much deeper cuts and their budget framework, which passed in March, assumes the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The House and Senate are clearly heading towards a budget battle later this year.
This is why your participation in Voices for National Service’s upcoming Capitol Hill Day on July 11th is so important. We will explain to our legislators how national service organizations create jobs, leverage nearly $1 billion annually in private and philanthropic dollars, and deliver critical services in local communities nationwide. Join us and tell your story to those who hold the future of national service in their hands. Hill Day registration will close on June 25th.
Today, we celebrate the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee’s high water mark for service funding. Tomorrow, we prepare to put the pressure back on.