|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.