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.