3:19 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5563, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, the first reauthorization of the national and community service laws and program since 1993.

The legislation we are considering today includes all of the amendments approved last week by voice vote. It also includes the provision on background checks from the Republican motion to recommit. This bill is a bipartisan product.

Through volunteer and community service programs, tens of millions of Americans of different generations have become inspired to build stronger, more vibrant communities to help children succeed in school and rebuild cities in times of disaster.

In 2006, more than 61 million Americans gave back to their communities through service. The GIVE Act recognizes this growing service movement that is taking place across the Nation. It builds upon the successful work being done by members of AmeriCorps, of Vista, of Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America.

The GIVE Act would put us on a path to increasing the number of AmeriCorps members from 75,000 to 100,000 by 2012, with a focus on engaging low-income, disadvantaged, and at-risk young people.

The GIVE Act would also help AmeriCorps members pay for college by increasing the scholarship they earn in exchange for their service from $4,725 to $5,255 by 2012.

This bill would introduce young people to community service by creating a new Summer of Service initiative that will offer middle school and high school students the opportunity to spend a summer working to improve the communities while earning $500 toward college or college preparation.

Alumni of service programs remain a valuable resource to our communities. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast communities, AmeriCorps alumni played a key role in relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts on the gulf coast. [Page: H1495]

To help tap into these resources in times of emergency, this bill would create an Alumni Reserve Corps to service alumni with previous disaster relief experience.

Each year, nearly a half a million older Americans participate in the Senior Corps programs, mentoring children of prisoners, providing independent living services to seniors, assisting victims of natural disaster, and mobilizing other volunteers.

The GIVE Act would expand the purpose of the Senior Corps programs by adding an emphasis on recruiting retired science, technology, health care, law enforcement, and military professionals to help with education, after-school, public safety, and technology needs.

I want to thank the many Members on both sides of the aisle who have worked on this bill, in particular, Representative McCarthy on our side of the aisle, Representative McKeon and Mr. Platts on the other side, who is handling the bill today for their leadership, as well as the Service Caucus for its support.

Let me also thank the Voices of Service and its member organizations which have been invaluable in helping us develop this legislation.

Service and volunteerism have played an important role in our Nation's history and will continue to help us meet the challenges and the needs of our communities. This legislation reflects the important role and builds upon it.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:24 PM EDT

Todd Platts, R-PA 19th

Mr. PLATTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5563, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, the GIVE Act, which will strengthen our Nation's national and community service programs. As you know, we debated this legislation for hours last week and adopted some very positive amendments. I'm pleased that the majority has included these amendments in the bill, as well as the Republican motion to recommit, which will ensure that adequate criminal history checks will be performed on anyone

seeking a federally funded national service position, and that individuals who are registered sex offenders or convicted murderers will not be selected for such positions.

While it was my hope that the duplicative Energy Conservation Corps is struck from the bill during the conference because the bill already addresses that through other sections of this legislation, I'm proud to be part of this effort to provide more flexibility for existing community service programs to ensure that the most innovative and effective grantees continue to receive funding and to increase the accountability within the corporation.

Programs such as Foster Grandparents and Learn and Serve truly impact the lives of America's most needy. AmeriCorps and NCCC participants engage often disadvantaged youth and provide them with a sense of pride and civic responsibility. These programs are truly win/win and provide a tremendous return on the Federal investment.

Again, I want to thank Chairman Miller, Ranking Member McKeon, and Chairwoman McCarthy for working with me, and for all the staff who have made this effort a success.

I urge a ``yes'' vote and hope that my colleagues will support these commonsense reforms to our national service programs and to support the GIVE Act.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:31 PM EDT

Silvestre Reyes, D-TX 16th

Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra). Pending that, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of overriding the President's veto. This year, for the first time in 3 years, the Congress passed an intelligence authorization act and presented it to the President. This was something that had proved impossible for a Republican-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate. In recent years, while the bill passed the House, it never even got to conference. When I took over as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I made passing an authorization all the

way through conference a high priority. It wasn't easy, but I thought it was crucial that we revitalize the oversight process, and I committed to getting an authorization bill not only passed through the House but sent to the President.

The intelligence community, by its very nature, presents a very difficult oversight challenge for Congress. This is why the intelligence authorization bill is so critical. It is the culmination of the committee's oversight activities conducted over the previous year. Intelligence funding is one of the few areas where the law requires funds to be both appropriated and authorized. Our constituents, of course, are demanding that we weigh in on all the important intelligence-related challenges that

our Nation is facing.

This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say, in the name of the United States of America, in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.

This legislation enhances oversight in several ways. It requires quarterly reports to Congress on the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea. We learned a lesson from the experience in Iraq. Congress must be careful and must be part of the process and a consumer of intelligence to avoid being sold a bill of goods.

The act requires the CIA inspector general to audit covert activities at least once every 3 years. Covert activities are historically where our intelligence community runs into legal and policy trouble. An independent CIA audit is one way to prevent problems that have embarrassed our Nation and have eroded our moral authority.

The authorization act also requires detailed accounting to Congress on the use of intelligence contractors. The use of contractors has grown exponentially, and no one is asking critical management questions about whether this is a good use of taxpayer money.

An important substantive provision of the legislation also requires the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community to abide by the same regulations that DOD follows in the context of interrogations. If it's not permissible for soldiers in Iraq, where they face a life-or-death threat daily, it shouldn't be permissible for a CIA officer or contractor.

Mr. Speaker, if this veto stands, all of these important oversight provisions will disappear. If we believe in strong oversight, we need to override this veto.

In addition to addressing long ignored oversight issues, the legislation is fundamentally the mechanism for authorizing funds for the intelligence community. This legislation authorizes funds for the full range of critical intelligence activities. It authorizes funds to support counterterrorism operations to keep Americans safe today, and it authorizes funds for the strategic intelligence investments to keep Americans safe in the future.

Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, the Intelligence Committee will be silent on these important authorization issues. Once more, we'll have no authorization bill.

The bill also addresses some persistent management problems in the intelligence community. It requires steps towards a multi-level security clearance system to recruit more native speakers of critical languages into our intelligence community. It takes important steps towards creating a more diverse workforce to strengthen our ability to collect intelligence all over the world.

Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, it's business as usual. No new solutions, just the same old intelligence problems.

I have visited the patriotic men and women of the intelligence community in the far corners and in the far reaches all over the globe. They deserve our support. They are brave, they are competent, and, in most cases, they are humbled to be doing the job to keep us safe. Many serve our Nation behind the scenes and at great risk, without any expectation of recognition or congratulations. For them, and for all Americans, this is important legislation.

The intelligence community came to us for money, they came to us for tools, and they came to us for new authorities. We gave them what they asked for. The President, with his veto, is denying them those very things simply because he wants no limits on his Presidential power.

So today, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote to override the President's veto.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:31 PM EDT

Jeff Flake, R-AZ 6th

Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I stand in opposition to the GIVE Act. I think that it has as its premise that we won't have volunteerism in America unless we pay for it somehow or unless this body comes up with it. The volunteerism represented by AmeriCorps and the other programs here represent, I would venture, about one hundredth of 1 percent of all of the voluntary activity that goes on out there. But here we act as if it won't happen unless we create it and pay for it.

Paid volunteerism is not a very good principle, in my view. We have to remember we are running a deficit. Our Federal Government is running a deficit. So any money we pay here, any increase in any programs, any new authorization, which I think over the 5-year reauthorization is about $4.1 billion more than we were paying before, that's money that has to be borrowed from the Treasury and, in effect, borrowed from our kids.

And I think it's prudent to ask what this is going to be used for. I think that most people would be surprised to learn that this legislation would expand and reauthorize programs that the Office of Management and Budget has rated as inefficient and ineffective. For example, the Learn and Serve Program was rated as not performing and results not demonstrated by the OMB. The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps was rated as not performing and ineffective.

It's bad enough that we are continuing funding, but under the Learn and Serve Program, that was rated again by the OMB as not performing and results not demonstrated, we are actually creating a new program within that and funding it with 20 million more dollars. That simply is not a prudent use of taxpayer dollars.

We have to remember we are taking money from people who are working and giving it to others who are supposedly volunteering to work. When you are providing a financial incentive, be it defrayment of tuition costs or anything else, you are paying people to volunteer.

I would urge my colleagues to reject this legislation and return to fiscal sanity and a little more fiscal discipline in this House.

3:34 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I yield myself 30 seconds.

Mr. Speaker, I would just say in the two programs the gentleman from Arizona raised, it's exactly why we have the reauthorization so we can go back through those programs and, in fact, as a result of those reviews, the administration has insisted upon substantial changes in those programs which have been carried out and that is why the administration now supports this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Sarbanes), a member of the committee.

3:34 PM EDT

John P. Sarbanes, D-MD 3rd

Mr. SARBANES. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend Chairman Miller, Chairwoman McCarthy, and others for putting together the GIVE Act, which reauthorizes the National Community Service Act of 1990 and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973. This act supports the Nation's priorities in a number of important areas.

Mr. Speaker, Americans are hungry to serve. Last year, 62 million Americans contributed 8.2 billion hours of volunteer service. And the question is, are we ready to absorb that energy? Do we have a way of capturing it and channeling it?

What the GIVE Act does is it creates that infrastructure; and that's why we need it, because if we don't have an infrastructure to respond to that volunteer energy, then people will go away even more disillusioned. So the GIVE Act steps up and does exactly the right thing.

And here are some of the things that it does: it sets a goal of 100,000 AmeriCorps volunteers by 2012 putting 25,000 additional volunteers into our communities; it engages youth through a summer of service; and it creates a new energy conservation corps. That corps will focus our service corps apparatus on some of the Nation's most pressing problems: energy efficiency and conservation training for green jobs and rehabilitation of our Nation's critical infrastructure. It will enlist both seniors

and young people in that enterprise.

The act will also do right by our veterans. I was pleased to work with Mr. Miller and Mrs. McCarthy to include language in this bill that would require the Corporation for National and Community Service to initiate a national conversation by commissioning a study to develop and test a service corps program that both targets veterans as recipients of community service and utilizes their service as participants and volunteers. This national conversation would provide a framework

for better targeting the needs of veterans in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I commend the committee on its work on these important issues. It is said that the pulse and time of a Nation are best reflected in its service to others. The GIVE Act launches a new era of service and, in so doing, will showcase the best of what America has to offer.

3:37 PM EDT

Randy Kuhl Jr., R-NY 29th

Mr. KUHL of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5563 and to thank Chairman Miller and Chairwoman McCarthy for their efforts, including a motion to recommit that I offered to H.R. 2857, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act.

Last week on March 6, I offered the motion to recommit to strengthen H.R. 2857 and the national service laws. Recently, the corporation for national community service completed a rule-making process to institute background checks for any individual seeking Federal-funded national service positions within the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparents program and within AmeriCorps programs in which individuals have recurring access to children, the elderly or, individuals with disabilities. That

rule-making process also prohibited individuals from serving in those positions if they were and are registered sex offenders.

While the motion to recommit will codify the corporation's regulations, it will also expand on the corporation's effort by requiring criminal history checks for any individual seeking a federally funded national service position and not just those within the foster grandparents and senior companion programs or just those AmeriCorps programs dealing with specific populations.

Further, in addition to prohibiting registered sex offenders from serving in federally funded national service positions, the motion to recommit includes those individuals convicted of murder as well.

Again, I applaud Chairman Miller and appreciate his courtesies last week on the floor and Chairwoman McCarthy for including the motion to recommit which expresses a loud and clear message, that this House of Representatives believes that those in need who are served by programs supported with assistance under these laws should be assured that they will not be placed in harm's way when approaching these programs for help.

Although I am pleased that the motion to recommit was included in the bill, I'm disappointed that the House majority has chosen not to take up the FISA amendments. The FISA amendments, which we've been hearing about all day, act to provide our intelligence community with the critical tools it needs to conduct surveillance on foreign terrorists without getting tied up in court.

The Senate, as we all know, passed this bipartisan legislation almost a month ago. So I urge the majority to bring this crucial bill up for a vote; and, again, I urge my colleagues to support this bill today before this House.

3:40 PM EDT

Rush Holt, D-NJ 12th

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I rise in support of this legislation. I'm pleased to have been a co-sponsor of this bill, because the service programs and the new initiatives will help to address some of our Nation's toughest problems about poverty to natural disasters and will help improve the lives of millions of our most valuable citizens. The bill will increase the number of AmeriCorps volunteers by a third and will significantly increase the stipends for those volunteers.

I particularly want to highlight a section that I am proud of. It is a section that will create opportunities for professionals in the sciences and technical fields to keep America competitive. It engages scientists and engineers in volunteerism and encourages their efforts to address unmet education and human needs. It will use scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians, for example, to close the digital divide that creates such a chasm between low-income communities and the more

privileged communities.

The bill also creates a national civilian conservation corps that, as a residential program, will be deployed in times of national need, such as emergencies and disasters. When not deployed in such circumstance, they will build infrastructure, protect the environment, conserve our resources, and help with urban and rural development.

Mr. Speaker, this is outstanding legislation. We really should commend Mrs. McCarthy as well as Chairman Miller, Mr. McKeon, and Mr. Platts for their work on this legislation.

I urge passage.

3:42 PM EDT

Don Manzullo, R-IL 16th

Mr. MANZULLO. Mr. Speaker, I am really just distressed over the manner in which this bill has come to the floor. When the Republicans were in the majority, any bill that was in excess of $100 million had to go through the regular process, was subject to amendments on the floor, et cetera; and now we are bringing on the Suspension Calendar, which is for naming post offices and minor things like that, a bill that would spend $6.2 billion over the next 5 years.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the estimated current outlay in fiscal year 2008 for existing Federal community service and volunteer programs is already $607 million a year. Spending under this bill would go up $884 million in fiscal year 2008, $942 million in 2009, $1.058 billion in fiscal year 2010, $1.154 billion in fiscal year 2011, and $1.235 billion in fiscal year 2012 for a total new spending for volunteers of $4.1 billion over 5 years.

That's outrageous to pay for volunteer programs to have the bill not subject to any amendment on the floor such as an amendment to pare down the size of the spending.

And I think in a time when we have a fiscal crisis on our hands, where the stock market is tanking and people are losing their homes and people are not sure of having a job, for this Congress to come in and use this extraordinary procedure to waive all the rules, including a way to amend the bill and spend an additional $4.1 billion over 5 years, that really cracks the back of fiscal responsibility.

[Time: 15:45]

The majority has shown unequivocally here that it is not the party of fiscal responsibility, and I would therefore encourage my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this bill.

3:45 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, it is a little hard to sit here and be lectured to by somebody from the other party that ran up an $8 trillion deficit in a matter of 8 years, about $1 trillion a year they succeeded in running up the deficit. But more importantly, I don't know if the gentleman from Illinois was absent last week or he doesn't remember, I don't know which, but we were here last Thursday considering this bill under the rules of the House, under essentially an open rule where every Republican amendment

and every Democratic amendment that was requested, I believe, was offered.

The new programs were subjected to a vote of the House because we thought that was fair. They prevailed. We finished the business of this bill last week, and then people decided they wanted to play some games on the motions to recommit, and so that forced us to bring the bill up again this week.

We cannot go back to committee; that would be even more expensive, more time-consuming, and bring back the bill, so we have chosen to do it under suspension. But that's after all of the amendments have been given full consideration. That's why the administration supported the legislation. That's why it has bipartisan support, because it was bipartisan in the committee. I think it was 44-0 that it came out of the committee. It was bipartisan in the Rules Committee. It was bipartisan on the floor

until the gentleman's party decided at the last minute that they wanted to try to somehow incorporate the FISA discussion into national service. That was out of order. That was not allowed.

And then Mr. Kuhl decided to offer an amendment, which we asked unanimous consent to accept at that time and we were not allowed to accept it. So, we're back here today. And we're trying to do it in the most expeditious fashion because it costs something to run the House. We shouldn't be back here today. But that's the history, in case the gentleman was absent last week.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:47 PM EDT

Silvestre Reyes, D-TX 16th

Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra). Pending that, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of overriding the President's veto. This year, for the first time in 3 years, the Congress passed an intelligence authorization act and presented it to the President. This was something that had proved impossible for a Republican-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate. In recent years, while the bill passed the House, it never even got to conference. When I took over as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I made passing an authorization all the

way through conference a high priority. It wasn't easy, but I thought it was crucial that we revitalize the oversight process, and I committed to getting an authorization bill not only passed through the House but sent to the President.

The intelligence community, by its very nature, presents a very difficult oversight challenge for Congress. This is why the intelligence authorization bill is so critical. It is the culmination of the committee's oversight activities conducted over the previous year. Intelligence funding is one of the few areas where the law requires funds to be both appropriated and authorized. Our constituents, of course, are demanding that we weigh in on all the important intelligence-related challenges that

our Nation is facing.

This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say, in the name of the United States of America, in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.

This legislation enhances oversight in several ways. It requires quarterly reports to Congress on the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea. We learned a lesson from the experience in Iraq. Congress must be careful and must be part of the process and a consumer of intelligence to avoid being sold a bill of goods.

The act requires the CIA inspector general to audit covert activities at least once every 3 years. Covert activities are historically where our intelligence community runs into legal and policy trouble. An independent CIA audit is one way to prevent problems that have embarrassed our Nation and have eroded our moral authority.

The authorization act also requires detailed accounting to Congress on the use of intelligence contractors. The use of contractors has grown exponentially, and no one is asking critical management questions about whether this is a good use of taxpayer money.

An important substantive provision of the legislation also requires the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community to abide by the same regulations that DOD follows in the context of interrogations. If it's not permissible for soldiers in Iraq, where they face a life-or-death threat daily, it shouldn't be permissible for a CIA officer or contractor.

Mr. Speaker, if this veto stands, all of these important oversight provisions will disappear. If we believe in strong oversight, we need to override this veto.

In addition to addressing long ignored oversight issues, the legislation is fundamentally the mechanism for authorizing funds for the intelligence community. This legislation authorizes funds for the full range of critical intelligence activities. It authorizes funds to support counterterrorism operations to keep Americans safe today, and it authorizes funds for the strategic intelligence investments to keep Americans safe in the future.

Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, the Intelligence Committee will be silent on these important authorization issues. Once more, we'll have no authorization bill.

The bill also addresses some persistent management problems in the intelligence community. It requires steps towards a multi-level security clearance system to recruit more native speakers of critical languages into our intelligence community. It takes important steps towards creating a more diverse workforce to strengthen our ability to collect intelligence all over the world.

Mr. Speaker, if we fail to override this veto, it's business as usual. No new solutions, just the same old intelligence problems.

I have visited the patriotic men and women of the intelligence community in the far corners and in the far reaches all over the globe. They deserve our support. They are brave, they are competent, and, in most cases, they are humbled to be doing the job to keep us safe. Many serve our Nation behind the scenes and at great risk, without any expectation of recognition or congratulations. For them, and for all Americans, this is important legislation.

The intelligence community came to us for money, they came to us for tools, and they came to us for new authorities. We gave them what they asked for. The President, with his veto, is denying them those very things simply because he wants no limits on his Presidential power.

So today, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote to override the President's veto.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

3:47 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I just want to, before we close debate, thank Mr. Platts and Mrs. McCarthy for all of their hard work. They were really the engines behind this legislation and getting it through the subcommittees and the committees for our consideration here on the floor. I want to thank them very much for that effort.

A couple of speakers suggested that somehow Americans volunteer, so we don't need this act. The fact of the matter is this act builds much more than just volunteers. I volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity. I volunteer in the schools in my district. I volunteer in Coastal Cleanup. I volunteer in community Weed and Seed programs. I volunteer in a lot of efforts. This is also about taking people who would never think of volunteering, young people who come from neighborhoods where that's not an

opportunity that they may have necessarily. And it not only gets them into volunteering, but also builds skills. What people really like to have volunteer are people with skills come and volunteer.

It also builds leadership skills, so that those young people can either incorporate their skills in additional volunteering or organize other people to volunteer as they leave these programs. Many of these young people graduate and go into public service. In California, we will find people who will go from one of these programs to the California Conservation Corps to maybe the national parks program, where they end up working and rebuilding the infrastructure of our national parks or public lands

or coastal areas of these States.

And when you ask the young people, when you run across them, where did they get their start, they got their start in AmeriCorps or the VISTA program or something like that. They end up maybe later, after they go to school, they come back and they work in the community. That's why one of the things that this legislation does is try to reach out to the alumni of this program, because we now realize how valuable they are to our communities and we want them to continue to participate and continue

to organize people who have been the beneficiaries of this program and those who have participated in it as leaders and as participants so that we can build that core.

It's very interesting now, there's a number of people discussing the national defense level of this country, that one of the things we failed to do after 9/11 was build in a resiliency of this country in the event of other another attack. Tragically, after 9/11 the President told the country they didn't have to do anything, if they would just go shopping. [Page: H1498]

But now what we see is we still don't have the basic infrastructure in our communities to deal with natural disasters, to deal with possible terrorist attacks, to deal with regional-wide problems, whether they be fires, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, or any of that. In fact, what we need is we need volunteers and people with volunteer experience, people with organizing volunteers to start to come together to think about how a community would respond, whether it's a chemical spill, whether it's

a chemical plant explosion, whether it's an earthquake or a fire, to respond to help those people, to help those first responders. We've never organized that. But we would like to start thinking about organizing that, and I'm sure when we do, we will be calling upon the professionals that were in VISTA, that were in AmeriCorps, that were in the Senior Corps, that have connections through their business connections, through their community involvement.

So, this program pays many dividends way beyond the idea that this is just about volunteering on a Saturday morning or a Sunday morning with your church. We all do that. But there has to be more. And there has to be avenues for people who aren't encouraged to volunteer, that we can provide that encouragement and we can encourage people to participate with populations that need that kind of assistance. That's the importance of this legislation.

It's unfortunate it has taken so long for us to reauthorize this bill. But what we know is Americans all across this country in every region of this country want to see a greater sense of people giving back to their communities, people volunteering in their communities, organizing people to volunteer, to provide services to their communities. That's what this legislation responds to.

It's been incredibly successful, when you meet the graduates of these programs, when you meet the alumni of these programs. They don't stop there. It becomes part of the ethic of their life. And they continue it in their business, in their professions. They continue that kind of activity because they see the value of it, they've participated in it. And I would hope that my colleagues would give this legislation overwhelming bipartisan support.