U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation to mobilize and recruit Americans in the response to COVID-19. This bill calls for expanding AmeriCorps to 500,000 and doubling the AmeriCorps living allowance. The bill would also mobilize individuals at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the fight against the coronavirus by providing funding needed to hire and train 62,000 additional FEMA Cadre of On-Call Response/Recovery Employees (CORE) to perform public health and related functions as well as respond to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Below is a link to the press release announcing the bill and a one-pager describing the bill’s text.
Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) has introduced H.R. 6560, a House companion to the UNITE Act.
The legislation would do the following:
- Appropriates $6.5 billion in FY2020, 2021, and 2022 to hire and train 62,000
additional FEMA Cadre of On-Call Response/Recovery Employees (CORE) to perform
public health functions and respond to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires.
- Directs FEMA to prioritize hiring from groups that include unemployed veterans, other
unemployed due to the coronavirus, AmeriCorps volunteers, Peace Corps volunteers, and
Fulbright Scholars, whose service involuntarily ended.
- Among the needs for FEMA CORE teams may include:
- providing logistical support for emergency procurement of medical equipment and other goods involved in COVID-19 response efforts;
- facilitating COVID-19 testing and surveillance activities;
- tracing contacts of infected individuals and their status while being quarantined; and
- providing other disaster preparedness and response functions for other emergencies and