I want to provide an update on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law yesterday by President Obama.
This legislation is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create and save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. It includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
The Act includes $201 million in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service to support an expansion of AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps VISTA programs. This investment is a strong vote of confidence in the power of national service to engage citizens in addressing unmet needs and strengthening communities.
As we begin to carry out this Act, it’s important to remember that the entire family of national service – Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, VISTA, NCCC, and Learn and Serve America – is critical to helping communities and individuals cope in our current economic crisis. For decades, national service programs have worked in and with our most vulnerable communities, providing hope and help to people facing economic and social needs. Today, as the economic downturn puts millions of Americans at risk, we need national service and volunteering more than ever. As the President said yesterday, this legislation represents only the first part of a much broader strategy to address the economic crisis.
We are committed to investing Recovery Act dollars with a high degree of transparency and accountability so you know how the funds are being spent. Please take a moment to visit the new government-wide website http://www.recovery.gov and the Corporation’s new Recovery page at www.NationalService.gov/Recovery. The page has links to the legislation and new OMB guidance issued today about implementing the Act, including new reporting requirement for recipients of funds. We will be updating this site frequently with new information, so check back often.
The legislation requires agencies to submit an operating plan to Congress on how the funds will be used. We are reviewing the statute and the OMB guidance as we draft this operating plan and put the mechanisms in place to make the funds available. As part of this process, we will be holding a series of conference calls to hear from interested parties. The first of those calls, focusing on AmeriCorps State and National funding, will be this Friday. Please visit our Recovery landing page for call details – we will post call-in information for Friday’s calls on Thursday.
This time of unprecedented need is also a time of unprecedented opportunity. The economic crisis is hurting families and communities across the United States. National service programs can offer critical support, and we have the opportunity and responsibility to deliver impacts and results. We look forward to working with you as we go down the long road to economic recovery.
Corporation for National and Community Service