Wednesday, March 18: H.R. 1388 – Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act

This bill reauthorizes Corporation for National and Community Service programs, including AmeriCorps, through FY 2014. The bill is intended to increase the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, from 75,000. The measure also increases the education reward that full-time service volunteers receive to $5,350 in FY 2010, the same award as the maximum Pell grant. After FY 2010, volunteers would receive an award equal to the annual maximum Pell grant.

KEY CONCERNS:

*H.R. 1388 funds AmeriCorps at a level of “such sums may be necessary.” AmeriCorps has funded programs in the past such as Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center (LAGLC).  In addition, they ran a program that gave $5 to children for each toy gun they brought in.

*The CBO Report for H.R. 1388 states that the bill authorizes $9.3 billion over the FY2010-FY2014 period.  This is over $3 billion more than last year’s bill.

*H.R. 1388 stretches the definition of a volunteer by paying them for their service, frequently providing volunteers with health benefits, housing, and other items that undermine the definition of a volunteer.

*H.R. 1388 funds Learn and Serve, which has been described as “Not Performing: Results Not Demonstrated” by the Office of Management and Budget’s website, ExpectMore.gov.  It also funds AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps which OMB describes as “Not Performing: Ineffective.”  Some conservatives may believe that during a time of economic crisis, we should not be funding programs that have shown little or no results.

Amendments to H.R. 1388

Washington, Mar 18 - Miller (CA): Manager’s Amendment. This amendment would make various technical changes; allow interagency agreements between federal agencies to support national service programs by approving the use of service positions in projects carried out by other agencies; clarify that the goal of reaching 250,000 volunteers is throughout all national service positions, not just AmeriCorps; and clarify that the Corporation should promote efficiency and eliminate duplicative application requirements and report back to the authorizing committees on its progress in doing so. The amendment adds language to promote community based efforts to reduce crime and recruit public safety officers into service opportunities; adds “severely economically distressed community” as a new definition; includes a new activity under the Opportunity Corps focused on a musician and artists corps program that helps meet educational needs in low income communities; and incorporates language that would increase access to and participation in federally supported nutrition programs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Pingree (ME): Adds “providing clean energy related services designed to meet the needs of rural communities” to the list of approved activities for the Clean Energy Corps.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 388-36

Hunter (CA): Removes veteran’s educational benefits from being taken into account when calculating the maximum award an individual could receive for participating in one of the national service programs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Loebsack (IA): The amendment creates a new program entitled the “Volunteer Generation Fund,” to assist nonprofit, faith based, and other civic organizations; and to increase volunteer recruitment; an to enable the people of the U.S. to effect change by participating in active volunteer and citizen service.  It authorizes $360 million over five years.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 261-168

Roe (TN): To set the authorization for AmeriCorps, the Trust, Innovative programs, audits and evaluations at the FY 2008 level for FY 2010, and as such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2011 through 2014.

VOTE REQUESTED – FAILED 175-256

Kilroy (OH): To provide volunteers to supervise physical education classes at elementary and secondary schools, provide nutrition education to students, and supervise, organize, and manage after school physical activity/education programs. The amendment would also provide services to these elderly people through food deliveries, legal and medical services provided in the home, and transportation.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 372-57

Roskam (IL): To require all authorized programs to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool, as well as require GAO to do a study on the National Civilian Community Corps program. Finally, the amendment would amend the underlying legislation to continue the annual evaluation requirement for the National Civilian Community Corps, rather than authorizing only one study by 2014.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Markey (CO): To increase the operational support given to organizations for full-time individuals enrolled in an approved national service position. The amendment proposes increasing the support from $600 to $800 and from $800 to $1000 if the program supports at least 50 percent disadvantaged youth.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 281-146

Hill (IN): Adds an eligible service program (under the National Service Corps) that would send care packages to Armed Forces members serving in combat overseas.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Teague (NM)/Klein (FL): To encourage opportunities for veterans that utilize their experience in the Armed Forces, and would encourage programs to assist veterans in finding employment in the public and private sector. The amendment would aid veterans in their pursuit of education and professional opportunities, help veterans with the claims process, and assist rural, disabled, and unemployed veterans with transportation needs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Perriello (VA)/Titus (NV): To create a National Service Reserve Corps, requiring an annual service requirement of at least ten hours and/or annual training. The amendment requires that a member of the National Service Reserve Corps must complete a term of national service, fulfill training, and respond to national disasters and other emergencies. In addition, the amendment would require that these individuals be listed in a national database for the ease of immediate deployment in case of emergency.

VOTE REQUESTED: PASSED 339-93

REPUBLICAN MOTION TO RECOMMIT H.R. 1388, the GIVE Act – PASSED 318-105 – ROLL CALL VOTE

The motion would recommit H.R. 1388 back to the House Education and Labor Committee with instructions that the committee report the bill back to the House floor forthwith (i.e. instantaneously) with the following amendment.

The Republican MTR would prohibit a participant from:

    • Attempting to influence legislation;
    • Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes;
    • Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing;
    • Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;
    • Engaging in partisan political activities;
    • Participating in events that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties/platforms/candidates;
    • Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship;
    • Providing a direct benefit to a business organized for profit, a labor organization, a partisan political organization, a nonprofit organization; or an organization engaged in the religious activities described above unless the Corporation assistance is not used to support those religious activities;
    • Conducting a voter registration drive.

The MTR would make the following organizations ineligible for assistance in this bill:

    • Organizations that provide or promote abortion services, including referral;
    • For-profit organization, or organizations engaged in political or legislative advocacy;
    • Organizations that have been indicted for voter fraud.

The MTR would prohibit the following activities:

    • Activities that would otherwise be performed by an employed worker as part of his or her assigned duties as an employee or by another volunteer who is not a participant in an approved national service position;
    • Activities that will supplant the hiring of employed workers or work of such other volunteers.

ON FINAL PASSAGE: PASSED 321-105 – ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for this update.

  2. Why would the Republicans see the need to add the amendment at the end and the items prohibited by the participant. Is this program going to be voluntary or mandatory?

    You won’t be allowed to worship or participate in religion if you volunteer? This isn’t socialism, this is communism. What’s happening to my country?


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