For Immediate Release
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement by AnnMaura Connolly on the Omnibus Spending Bill for FY 2017
Low Cost Services for Students, Veterans, Military Families and Communities Recovering from Natural Disasters Preserved but Social Innovation Fund Elimination in FY 2017 and Calls to Eliminate CNCS in FY 2018 Cause for Serious Concern
Washington, DC (May 1, 2017) – The agreement between the House and Senate on a massive Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus spending package includes $1.03 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers national service programs including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
The FY 2017 budget, which funds the government through September and is expected to pass the House and Senate this week, maintains funding for core national and community service programs, including $386 million for AmeriCorps grants and $202 million for Senior Corps programs, level with FY 2016. In addition, it includes expanded resources for state commissions to build the capacity of national and community service programs at the local level. But it strikes a blow to a major CNCS initiative by eliminating the Social Innovation Fund – a $50 million cut.
AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service, issued the following statement in response to the agreement:
“This budget is good news for communities across our nation – like Kenosha, WI, Ypsilanti, MI and Newport News, VA – that rely on the cost-effective, transformative work of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our nation. It allows us to tap our nation’s greatest resource in our collective work to make America great: the talent, energy, and patriotism of our citizens.
“If approved, this bipartisan plan would continue to put boots on the ground to strengthen education from preschool through college, help communities recover and rebuild from natural disasters, support our veterans and military families, combat poverty, assist seniors in independent living, and foster economic opportunities across America.
“Because of the tremendous bipartisan support in Congress for national service by Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairs Roy Blunt and Tom Cole and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Rosa DeLauro, this plan enables the work of thousands of nonprofit faith-based and community-based organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Teach for America.
“But for all its good, this budget would pointedly stunt innovation by zeroing out funding for Social Innovation Fund, which positioned the federal government to be a catalyst for impact by mobilizing the private sector to find and cultivate community solutions, resulting in a more than two-to-one return on taxpayer investment.
“The forecast for future national service funding remains unclear even as we remain confident that congressional appropriators of both parties will recognize the extraordinary value to taxpayers of low-cost, high-yield national service programs. According to a poll conducted in December 2016 by the Republican firm TargetPoint, some 80 percent of registered voters, including 74 percent of Republicans, support continued federal investment in national service.
“Voices for National Service will continue to work with our Republican and Democratic champions in Congress to ensure that we realize the potential for national service at scale to meet the pressing needs of the nation.”
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.