For Immediate Release
June 24, 2015
Appropriations Proposals in House and Senate Jeopardize Services for Veterans, Students, Military Families and Communities Recovering from Natural Disasters
Voices for National Service Calls for Federal Investment in Cost-Effective National Service Programs in Face of Appropriations Markups in Both Chambers
WASHINGTON – Voices for National Service President AnnMaura Connolly issued the following statement in response to this week’s markups by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies:
“It is extremely disappointing that Congress continues to support spending proposals that would devastate national service programs in communities nationwide. National service programs supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) are proven to deliver services, expand opportunity, and save taxpayer dollars. This week’s markups in both the House and Senate demonstrate Congress’ failure to recognize a smart investment that would strengthen the nation at minimal cost.
The significant budget cuts supported by the House and Senate this week are particularly concerning, given the strong public support for national service. In the past week, more than 900 community leaders have signed onto a letter urging Congress to reject the proposed cuts. Mayors from major cities throughout the country, including Philadelphia, Seattle, Houston and New Orleans, have also written to Congress this week, urging investment in CNCS and the programs the agency supports. Appropriators in the House and Senate seem to have ignored these calls to protect national service programs supported by CNCS.
In this austere economic environment, we should be leaning into cost-effective national service programs, which research shows generate a 4-to-1 return on investment for every federal dollar spent and are matched by hundreds of millions in private funds. We are grateful to Representative Roybal-Allard (D-CA) for recognizing national service as a solution to community challenges and introducing an amendment to the House bill that would restore funding for CNCS. While the amendment was rejected on a party-line vote, we look forward to working with Representative Roybal-Allard and our other champions in both chambers as well as in the White House to ensure adequate funding for national service.”
The Roybal-Allard amendment would have funded CNCS at $1.18 billion, the level included in the President’s FY16 budget proposal. The amendment was defeated 20 to 30. Eight members of the Committee spoke in favor of restoring funding for CNCS.
The House bill, in consideration by the full appropriations Committee today, proposes to allocate $687.8 million for CNCS in FY16, which represents a 34 percent reduction below the current funding level for the agency. Specific cuts proposed in the bill would eliminate AmeriCorps NCCC, a corps focused on providing disaster relief and recovery services to communities in need; defund State Service Commissions, Governor-appointed entities that drive national service resources toward state and local challenges; and render a more than 75 percent cut to the National Service Trust, which provides for modest education awards for AmeriCorps members who successfully complete their terms of service.
The Senate bill, which was considered and approved by the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies yesterday, proposes a 20 percent cut to CNCS overall. The bill would eliminate the Social Innovation Fund; cut funding for National Service Trust and the AmeriCorps State and National, the largest of three AmeriCorps programs, by $123 million; and reduce investments in AmeriCorps VISTA and the Senior Corps programs.
Voices for National Service is a diverse coalition of national service programs, state service commissions and individual champions, who advocate to ensure Americans of all ages 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 position national service as a viable policy solution to tackle unmet needs, expand opportunity, and leverage human capital.