New York Times Editorial: Congress should fully fund AmeriCorps and the Serve America Act

Posted by Zach Maurin on July 27, 2009

The New York Times ran a great editorial on Saturday about the Serve America Act.  Here is an excerpt:

Former President, President Obama, and Senator Kennedy at the signing of the Serve America Act on April 22, 2009

Most egregious, the House omitted $41 million sought by Mr. Obama to expand AmeriCorps next year by 10,000 members, who would be put to serious tasks like mentoring at-risk students, cleaning up parks and responding to emergencies. Applying the House math, AmeriCorps would field about 75,000 to 76,000 volunteers in fiscal 2010, roughly the same level as this year.

In another mistaken move, the House bill also shortchanges a newly created Social Innovation Fund intended to provide money for proven private approaches to social problems. The aim is to spread their good ideas and programs. Mr. Obama requested $50 million; the House allotted $35 million for the fund. That seems particularly unwise given the need for fresh approaches and the willingness of foundations and philanthropists to match the federal investment.

The action moves now to the Senate. Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s relevant subcommittee, can make a valuable contribution by leading his colleagues to resist the House cuts to Mr. Obama’s national service request, and then standing firm when the issue goes to a House-Senate conference committee.

Yes, these are tough economic times, but applications to join AmeriCorps have risen exponentially. Lawmakers should look elsewhere to economize.

Read the rest of the editorial here.


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