Update, July 17th: The full House Appropriations Markup on the 2010 Labor, Health, and Education Appropriations Bill maintained the subcommittee’s recommendation to fund the Corporation for National and Community Service at $90 M less than Obama’s requested budget amount.
The House Appropriations subcommittee disappointed service supporters yesterday by offering a lower funding figure than needed to implement the Kennedy Serve America Act.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies approved only $1,059,016,000 in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) as a part of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill.
This figure is $90 million short of the President’s full budget request of $1.149 billion, and does not fully fund the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act. Implementation of the Act is dependent on appropriations, but the Appropriations subcommittee members have been raising objections, according to yesterday’s Independent Sector policy update meeting and Jennifer May of Voices for National Service.
Apparently the perception is that the Corporation — which lacks a permanent CEO and which recently lost its inspector general — is not ready for a big increase in funding right now. The sentiment is spelled out clearly in subcommittee chairman David Obey (D-WI)’s statement (PDF):
President Obama has issued the call for Americans to serve their communities and country, and this bill responds to that call by providing a $169 million increase to implement the new Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The mark includes $35 million to launch a new Social Innovation Fund that will identify and bring to scale proven approaches and new community-based solutions to health, energy, education and other local problems. The Subcommittee will consider further expansion of service and volunteer programs once the Corporation for National and Community Service has demonstrated that it has made improvements in its internal operations.
However, according to Voices for National Service:
Over the last six years, CNCS and its bipartisan Board of Directors have focused on improving management, with emphasis on technology, staff capacity, demonstration of impact, and reducing administrative burden on grantees. CNCS has received 6 consecutive clean audits of the National Service Trust. The Serve America Act provides additional internal controls and policy changes that will further strengthen accountability and ensure greater predictability and cost-effectiveness of programs. In addition, CNCS has provided excellent management and oversight to critical efforts including providing strong support to communities impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the 2007 floods in Iowa.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to hold a full committee mark up for the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill on July 14th. Also, check out this article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.