|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.