Fate of National Service Rests with Congress, Again

Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065, ranit@schmelzerstrategies.com

Fate of National Service Rests with Congress, Again

Administration’s budget would end AmeriCorps and Senior Corps

Washington, DC (March 12, 2019) – For the third straight year, President Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads service and volunteering efforts in the United States, including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.

The FY 2020 budget request, unveiled yesterday, calls for $2.7 trillion in non-defense spending cuts over the next decade. According to leadership at the Corporation for National and Community Service, the budget proposes to eliminate the agency.

If Congress allows this to happen through the appropriations process it will mean the end of more than eight decades of bipartisan support for national service.

“The third time will not be a charm for the Administration,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “Congress understands the cost-effective transformative work of national service programs and has consistently demonstrated a strong, bipartisan commitment to funding for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.”

For the past two years, Congress has rejected the Administration’s call to eliminate CNCS. To the contrary, last year (FY 2019) Congress funded a $13 million increase for AmeriCorps and a $6 million increase for Senior Corps over the previous year levels.

Added Connolly, “Eliminating this funding isn’t a win for small government or the taxpayer, because every dollar invested in national service yields nearly four in return for society. Instead, this plan would mark a loss of the patriotic service of the more than 75,000 young Americans and the 220,000 seniors who serve their nation and communities each year through these programs.”

“We will do everything in our power to make sure this element of the President’s budget is dead on arrival – and we’re eternally grateful to legislative champions from both parties, including Senators Roy Blunt and Patty Murray and Representatives Tom Cole and Rosa DeLauro, for standing by national service so that all Americans have the opportunity to serve.”

Key Facts about the Corporation for National and Community Service

  • CNCS is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. Its budget of $1.08 billion makes up less than .03 percent of the federal budget. For every $10 in federal money appropriated, another $15 is separately raised from private sources.
  • AmeriCorps invests in high-impact nonprofits and faith-based organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, City Year, Habitat for Humanity and Teach For America. It requires investment from the private sector, forces grantees to compete for funds and gives governors the power to direct resources in their states. AmeriCorps members play critical roles in disaster response, recovery and mitigation. They also tutor and mentor young people, connect veterans to jobs, care for seniors, reduce crime and revive cities, fight the opioid epidemic, and meet other critical community needs. AmeriCorps produces tangible outcomes for thousands of communities across the country and provides members an education award in return for their service. AmeriCorps members credit their year of service for developing leadership skills that opens doors to opportunities that advance their careers and education.
  • Senior Corps engages roughly 220,000 adults (aged 55 and older) annually in service. Volunteers tutor and mentor students, assist and care for the elderly, and support relief teams during natural and manmade disasters. A new report found that Senior Corps volunteers have much higher self-rated health scores and feel significantly less depressed and isolated compared to non-volunteers.
  • National service is tremendously popular. A poll in nine presidential battleground states found that 83 percent of registered voters, including 78 percent of Republicans, support increased or maintained federal investment in national service.


Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who work to ensure Americans of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to serve and volunteer in their community. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders and helped to elevate national service as a powerful strategy for tackling unmet needs, preparing young people for work, uniting our country and developing civic character.

« Back to Press Releases