Obama’s Remarks on Signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

Today, President Obama made the following remarks before signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

Barack Obama on national service

The transcript was released by the Office of the White House Press Secretary. Re-play the signing and hear the speech for yourself on CSPAN.

Thank you.  Please be seated.  Thank you.  Well, what an extraordinary day.  It is good to be here with all of you.

I want to, first of all, thank President Bill Clinton for joining us here today — where’s President Clinton? — (applause) — for his lifetime of service to our country, but also the fact that he created AmeriCorps, and that not only made this day possible, it has directly enlisted more than half a million Americans in service to their country; service that has touched the lives of millions more.

Now, it just so happens that one of those people who have been touched by AmeriCorps was FLOTUS, otherwise known as First Lady of the United States — (laughter) — Michelle Obama, who ran a AmeriCorps-sponsored Continue reading

Lawmakers, Volunteers to Hold Press Conference to Urge Passage of Service Legislation

Update, April 21, 2009: President Obama signs the Serve America Act into law. To take effect October 1, 2009.

U.S. people of all ages who serve and volunteer will join members of the Congress for a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, March 18, at 10:30 am EST.

The House of Representatives will consider H.R. 1388, the GIVE Act, on the floor Wednesday, March 18th. You can watch the voting take place on C-SPAN.

The Congress members and volunteers will urge the House to pass the legislation that aims to “launch a new era of national service to help the nation get through the economic crisis.”

The bill will significantly expand national service (if enacted). Read more (PDF) about the bill. Follow the progress of the bill on Open Congress.

People to appear at the press conference include volunteers and national service participants; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman House Education and Labor Committee and co-sponsor of legislation; U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), cosponsor of legislation; U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV); and Capt. Scott Quilty, U.S. program manager, Survivor Corps.

The Senate is expected to consider similar legislation soon.

GIVE Act Gets Robust Approval from the House Labor and Education Committee

Update, April 21, 2009: President Obama signs the Serve America Act into law. To take effect October 1, 2009.

March 11th, the House Education and Labor Committee approved H.R. 1388, the Generations InvigoratingVolunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act, on a 34-3 vote. The bill is expected to be sent to the full House for consideration during the week of March 16 and is the House companion bill to the Serve America Act (S. 277).

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Committee Chair

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Committee Chair

Chairman George Miller, Ranking Member Howard McKeon, Subcommittee Chair Rep. Carolyn McCarthy,  Rep. Todd Platts and others on the Committee issued a  Committee summary of the GIVE Act, outlined below:

“America is facing unprecedented challenges – the economy, health care, energy, schools in need of improvement and more. With our public needs intensifying in this recession, there’s no better time to support and energize community service and volunteerism to help our country get through this economic crisis, restore confidence and prepare our nation for the future. President Obama has called on Congress to create new opportunities for Americans to build a stronger country by helping students perform better in school, prepare Americans for green and innovative 21st century jobs, rebuild cities in times of disaster, improve communities and much, much more. This legislation answers his call. It will launch a new era of service that will give Americans of all ages an opportunity to invest through service in our nation’s recovery.”

Specifically, the House Education and Labor Committee’s bill will do the following things, as outlined by the Committee: Continue reading

House Committee Holds a Hearing to Examine Need for Service

Wednesday morning the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing “examine the importance of national and community service in meeting critical economic needs” across the country.

According to a press release from the office Rep. George Miller—the chair of the committee—the hearing will focus on “re-invigorating” civic engagement, expanding national service opportunities for young people, and greening the United States with the help of national service programs.

Witnesses who will testify include: