From our friends at Voices for National Service:
Call your U.S. Senators on Thursday and Friday to urge them to support an Omnibus Appropriations bill, a legislative package that would fund the federal government through next September.
An Omnibus Appropriations bill may be the only opportunity to increase the fiscal year 2011 budget for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). With additional federal support, CNCS and its grantees can continue work towards fulfilling the vision of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
Today, the House of Representatives is expected to pass a year-long Continuing Resolution that will hold overall spending at fiscal year 2010 levels, $1.09 trillion. Congress has already enacted two continuing resolutions for FY11, which began in October. The second is set to expire on December 18.
While the House CR includes additional funds for a few domestic priorities and the war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the legislation does not increase funding for any of CNCS’ core programs – Learn & Serve America, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, NCCC or VISTA. The bill includes an additional $20 million for the National Service Trust Fund. But this one-time investment in the Trust will only ensure that the AmeriCorps Education Award keeps pace with the maximum value of the Pell Grant, as authorized in the Serve America Act. All of the other CNCS accounts are funded at FY10 levels and this would not allow for any program growth in 2011.
Later this week the Senate is expected to consider an Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides additional funds for many agencies and programs, including the Corporation for National and Community Service. Sources have indicated that the Senate’s Omnibus package includes $1.306 billion for CNCS, an increase of $157 million above FY10 levels.
How You Can Help
The Senate will need 60 votes to move an Omnibus Package past procedural votes. Given this may be our only opportunity to increase the CNCS budget in FY11, we encourage you to call your Senators and ask them to vote in favor of an Omnibus. In this economic downturn as social needs continue to mount, and and as American look for ways to give back, national service is a critical, cost-effective tool that engages citizens in tackling our most pressing challenges. The federal investment in the Corporation for National and Community Service is required to meet the goals set forth by the Serve America Act. Congress should complete the FY11 appropriations process now and pass an Omnibus Appropriations bill.
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS
► If you need help determining the members of your congressional delegation, visit http://www.congress.org. This database will provide you with contact information for your elected officials.
► You can call your Senators directly or be connected through the Senate Operator (202-224-3121). Once connected, identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant in change of national service and education issues.
Special Note: This is a time sensitive issue. This vote could occur this week.
We must regularly contact all our elected officials to update them on our programs and ask for their loyal support. They have tough decisions to make and they must balance many competing priorities. Therefore it is important that they hear from concerned citizens about issues of importance.