AnnMaura Connolly
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President, Voices for National Service

This Week in National Service – 5/11/2018

As Congress moves forward with the FY19 Appropriations process, now is the time to ensure that legislators hear from all of us in support of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps—and we’re seeing exciting momentum across the national service field in engaging members of Congress.

Our State Chapter Network is successfully organizing state-level sector sign on letters in support of CNCS funding:  John Albright of Missouri has gained the support of 17 mayors from across the state to sign on to the letter to Senator Blunt;  Lori Halvorson in Louisiana is organizing a letter to education leaders; Meredith Hansen in Illinois is raising support among business leaders;  the team at Volunteer Florida is spearheading both a mayors letter and an emergency response letter; Marty Weinstein in California is collecting signatures from Bay Area education leaders—and more states have letters to come! Thank you to everyone who is helping move these forward.

This week, the White House submitted to Congress a package that would rescind a total of $15.4 billion from 38 programs that have unobligated funding from previous fiscal years; there is no FY 2018 funding from the recent omnibus proposed for rescission in this package. The White House proposal recommends Congress rescind $150M in surplus funds from the National Service Trust Fund. Full details are at the end of this email, and we will keep you all updated with any developments.

We’re excited to share the new State Chapter landing page on the Voices for National Service website.  Please feel free to share it with anyone interested in joining our State Chapter Network.

The Voices team is heading to the ASC Pacific-Southwest training in Seattle, Washington next week! Please join us for our presentation, “Communicating the Case for Service: Effective Messages and Strategies for Building Bipartisan Support,” on Tuesday, May 15 from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

SAVE THE DATE: Please save Wednesday, September 12, 2018 for the Voices for National Service Capitol Hill Day in Washington DC. More details will follow soon. We hope you’ll join us!

Some highlights from Senior Corps Week and other events from the past week below:

  • Thanks to Voices for National Service Illinois and Playworks IL for engaging Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). We were especially excited to hear of the invitation for continued conversations with Rep. Krishnamoorthi around the importance of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps in his district!  Our Illinois chapter is looking for additional Senior Corps connections—as all of our chapters are working to ensure robust engagement of Senior Corps as well as AmeriCorps so please contact Amanda Hooper if you can help (ahooper@cityyear.org).
  • Thank you to Susan Weiss, Amber Martin-Jahn, and Serve Washington for engaging Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and her staff—we look forward to hearing more updates as this relationship develops.
  • Congratulations to our friends at Service Year Alliance on a successful Hill Day in support of expanding national service and for hosting the Eagles in DC march to help national service soar!
  • We were excited to hear that a resolution in support of Senior Corps was read at the Kansas Capitol. Thanks to Melody Gault of Voices for National Service state chapter in Kansas for all your leadership in the state, including your outreach to Representative Ron Estes (R-KS), who mentioned the Foster Grandparents program during an oversight hearing.
  • CNCS CEO, Barbara Stewart joined the Senior Corps Week celebrations with the Foster Grandparents program at the Hudspeth Center in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • We appreciated seeing Ed and Workforce Democrats also recognizing the impact of Senior Corps members across the nation this week.
  • We were excited to see Virginia CNCS celebrating Senior Corps Week by volunteering with the Foster Grandparents program in Richmond.
  • Congratulations to Youth Conservation Corps of Illinois on a successful Hill Day this past week.
  • Thank you to Reading Partners and City Year for securing media attention around your efforts to provide critical child care needs during the state wide teacher walkout in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Great to see news around Habitat for Humanity Women Build Week. Thank you for the work you are doing across the nation!
  • Congratulations to United Way in Greenville County, South Carolina for hosting its 24th annual Hands on Greenville volunteer day.

Keep the updates coming and thanks for all you do!

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This week the White House submitted to Congress a package that would rescind a total of $15.4 billion from 38 programs that have unobligated funding from previous fiscal years; there is no FY 2018 funding from the recent omnibus proposed for rescission in this package. 

The White House proposal recommends Congress rescind $150M in surplus funds from the National Service Trust Fund.

CNCS says they accumulated this excess in the Trust because of congressionally-mandated conservative accounting, unused ed awards, and earned interest. This is the pool of funds CNCS has used in the past to fund ed awards for some of their partnerships, like the AmeriCorps Affiliate program.

CNCS staff and the White House statement claim that this rescission will not impact their FY18 grantmaking and they can meet all current and past Trust obligations. No members – currently serving or alumni – will lose their award if this cut were enacted.

We are trying to better understand what additional partnerships CNCS has been able to enter into in the past with the Trust surplus. We are concerned this cut will prevent CNCS from creating new public-private partnerships that incubate or expand service outside of their annual grantmaking.

News reports suggest this rescission package could possibly pass the House, but the outlook for Senate passage is less certain.

The White House has also said that this could be the first of several rescission packages it will send to Congress, and that a separate package may include rescissions of FY 2018 funding that “[it] found is wasteful in the omnibus bill.”

Congress now has 45 days to pass the package with just a majority vote in each chamber.  If Congress does not approve the whole package, the funding remains and cannot be proposed again for rescission.

We will share more info as it becomes available.

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