We have reached a critical time in the annual appropriations process. Both the House and Senate are expected to mark up their FY19 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bills in June–we know that the Senate markup will be during the week of June 25, and we are hearing that the House markup will occur before the Senate. As soon as we have firm dates, we will share them with all of you. This means committee staff are starting to draft those bills right now. Before the ink dries, we need all hands on deck to send messages of support for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.
As you know – there are 12 appropriations subcommittees in both the House and Senate. Each subcommittee gets an allocation, a total sum of money to be distributed across all the departments and programs it funds. The allocation is essentially a cap on spending for that subcommittee. The House Labor-HHS Subcommittee, which funds CNCS, received its FY19 allocation last week. They received $177 billion, the same amount as FY18. Level funding presents challenges for the committee that is also responsible for funding NIH, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education and Labor. All are competing for a greater share of the same allocation.
Bottom line: now is the time to contact lawmakers and make sure they know that national service funding is your priority.
Here are a few ways that the Voices community is working to do just that:
- National Service Call Congress Day: Voices is teaming up with our partners at Service Year Alliance and America’s Service Commissions for a call day on Tuesday, June 5, so please mark your calendars! Calling your legislators only takes a few minutes but can make a big difference in sending a clear message to Congress to protect and expand investments in national service. We also hope you will share the call day information with your networks, boards, friends and family members. But here’s what’s important to know: call days only work when there is a high volume of calls. So don’t assume someone else is calling and you don’t need to… we all have to make the call–and we have to mobilize our networks too! Stay tuned for additional details and links to a tool that will make it super easy to make the calls!
- State Sign-On Letters: Thank you to all the Voices for National Service State Chapters who are organizing sign-on letters from leaders in their states in support of CNCS funding. Thank you to Lori Halvorson for submitting a letter from education leaders in Louisiana, and to John Albright for your work on the letter from Missouri mayors. The following Voices chapters are still accepting signatures on their respective letters—please email Amanda Hooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to participate: California- Bay Area education leaders; Florida- mayors and emergency management; Illinois- business leaders. All letters should be submitted and finalized by June 1 (tomorrow) to have the maximum impact before markup.
- Capitol Hill Meetings: The Voices Government Affairs Committee is wrapping up meetings with congressional appropriators and their staff in advance of the markups in the House and Senate. Thanks to everyone who has helped organize or participate in these visits!
Here are some highlights from the past week:
- Congratulations to Service Year Alliance, the Corps Network and YouthBuild USA on a great Capitol Hill briefing on National Service Pathways for Opportunity Youth. A recording of the panel is available here.
- Big thanks to the AmeriCorps members at Enchanted Hills Camp Lighthouse for your service in rebuilding after last year’s wildfires, and for hosting Representative Mike Thompson to demonstrate how national service members play a vital role in recovery from disasters.
- Thank you to Habitat for Humanity for engaging Representative David E. Price and CNCS CEO, Barbara Stewart, during BuildAThon events this past week. Thank you for sharing the critical impact of AmeriCorps members in local communities and encouraging your networks to email Congress to ask for continued funding for national service!
- The Joplin Globe remembers the anniversary of the 2011 Joplin Tornado in this article, and honors the first responders and AmeriCorps members who worked tirelessly in disaster relief efforts.
- Check out this great HechingerReport on the power and positive influence of teacher-student relationships to boost learning. We’re grateful to AmeriCorps members serving in schools who work toward building positive and supportive relationships with students every day.
- Congratulations to City Year Washington, DC for a successful visit with CNCS leadership this month. The visit was helpful in demonstrating the impact of AmeriCorps members serving at Turner Elementary School.
Mark your calendars for June 5. We are counting on you!