FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, email@example.com
Senate Appropriations Committee Recognizes the Value of AmeriCorps
Bill Acknowledges the Impact of AmeriCorps, But Falls Short of Funding Needed to Ensure Communities Can Meet Demands
Washington, DC (July 28, 2023) – On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Bill. The bill provides funding to protect AmeriCorps, but it does not go far enough to leverage the program’s impact in communities across the United States.
“Now more than ever, we need to invest in AmeriCorps, which provides vital people power to community and faith-based organizations on the front lines of addressing community needs and helping local economies grow,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “We’re pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee has protected AmeriCorps, but it is concerning that funding is below last year’s levels. We ultimately need a more robust strategic investment, as was called for by almost half of the US Senate, including members from both sides of the aisle.”
The Senate Labor-HHS bill allocates $1.26 billion for AmeriCorps, the federal agency that oversees national service in the United States and enables the vital contributions of 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors. This represents a $50 million decrease in funding as compared to FY 2023 and is far below the $300 million increase called for by 47 senators in a letter to the Appropriations Committee in April 2023.
A similar letter, signed by a bipartisan group of House members, was sent to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year. Despite this bipartisan support, the House Labor-HHS bill includes devastating cuts to AmeriCorps that would represent the lowest level of funding in 26 years.
AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors are embedded in our communities and respond to the country’s most immediate and critical needs – from natural disaster response to providing services to veterans and military families. Each year, AmeriCorps members power over 2,000 local nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations like the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, City Year, and Habitat for Humanity. Every $1 Congress invests in this public-private partnership allows AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors to return more than $17 in benefits to our country.
“The bipartisan Senate bill is a step in the right direction, especially as compared to the House bill with its deep cuts to AmeriCorps, but there is still more to be done,” added Connolly. “We understand that Congress is facing challenging budget decisions as a result of the debt limit deal, and we are deeply grateful to the legislative champions from both parties, including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Tom Cole (R-OK), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and Garret Graves (R-LA), who have advocated for expanding AmeriCorps so that all Americans have the opportunity to make a positive impact in their local community. We look forward to working with Congress and the White House to ensure a robust appropriation for FY 2024 so that communities can continue to count on AmeriCorps for help where it’s needed most.”
Voices for National Service, which turns 20 this year, advocates for programs that respond to the country’s most immediate and pressing challenges and elevates AmeriCorps as a powerful strategy for tackling unmet needs. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service has built strong bipartisan support among our nation’s leaders for AmeriCorps, the public-private partnership that yields more than $17 in benefits to our country for every $1 invested by Congress and enables the 200,000 members of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors to support local nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations on the front lines of our communities – an effort that unites our country and deepens civic character.