Now that Congress has left town for 2007, here is a quick update on national service legislation.
The President is expected to sign H.R. 2764, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal 2008, by the end of the year. The House and Senate both passed this “omnibus” measure, which provides $856,331,000 for the Corporation and its programs for Fiscal 2008, including a 1.747 percent across-the-board rescission. You can read the statutory language, explanatory statement, and an updated budget chart on the budget page of our website. Congress also cleared a continuing resolution that will fund the government at fiscal 2007 levels through Dec. 31 to give the President time to review the omnibus bill.
Two other pieces of legislation relating to national service are expected to receive attention during the second session of the 110th Congress, which starts in January. One is our reauthorization bill, H.R. 2857, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education ("GIVE") Act. This bill, which was reported with strong bipartisan support by the House Committee on Education and Labor on June 27, 2007, is a comprehensive reauthorization package that includes many proposals consistent with the Administration’s principles. Reauthorization continues to be a high priority for Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and HR 2857 is expected to be brought up for floor action in the next session. Senator Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has also indicated a strong interest in the reauthorization of the Corporation.
H.R. 3997, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act, passed the House with an overwhelming vote in October. The bill contains a provision that would allow AmeriCorps members not to lose their Social Security Insurance (SSI) eligibility and benefits as a result of their stipend and education award. The Senate Finance Committeemay add the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) exclusion as the bill moves through the Senate.
Best wishes for the holidays.
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service