National Service Legislation Goes Back to the House for a Final Vote

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

According to Voices For National Service, the House could send the National Service Bill to President Obama this week.

Monday and Tuesday of this week, the House of Representatives will consider the version of the national service legislation that was amended and passed last week by the Senate. The legislation goes by the names The GIVE Act and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, and is also known as H.R. 1388.

If the House passes the bill, the legislation will be sent to President Obama to be signed into law.

The House is considering H.R. 1388 on the Suspension Calendar, and debate will be limited to 40 minutes. Under suspension, no one can further amend the bill, or recommit it to the House Labor and Education Committee where it originated. The bill must get a two-thirds super majority to pass.

Because the Senate’s bill is more costly than the original bill passed in the House, getting it through the House with a super majority may prove challenging.

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Musician and Artist Service Corps Amended into House Legislation

The Music National Service Initiative, which is in its start-up phase, got the backing of legislators today through an amendment to the national service legislation that passed on the floor of the House.

Rep. Crowley was able to include following language, stipulating an artist and musician corps, in Rep. George Miller’s Manager’s Amendment to the GIVE Act, H.R. 1388.

“(Q) A musician and artist corps program that trains and deploys skilled musicians and artists to promote greater community unity through the use of music and arts education and engagement through work in low income communities, education, healthcare and therapeutic settings, and other work in the public domain with citizens of all ages.”

To learn more about Music National Service, MusicianCorps, and MusicMentors, check out the Idealist podcast featuring founder Kiff Gallagher.

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With Bipartisan Support, the House Passes GIVE Act

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

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a major overhaul and expansion of national service.

The House passed H.R. 1388, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act bill by strong bipartisan vote of 321 to 105. According to Alan Khazei, the founder of the Service Nation movement, this represents a 75% super-majority and broad bi-partisan support.

The vote came after a floor discussion where both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress cited numerous examples of volunteers and national service participants helping Americans in need through mentoring at-risk youth, building homes, teaching in under-served schools, caring for veterans and seniors, and helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters.

According to Voices for National Service, here are some amendments to the legislation:

Amendment offered by Rep. Hill (D-IN) to make sending care packages to soldiers 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

Service Nation Brings Leaders Together in Honor of Dr. King

Political leaders and celebrities will join Service Nation organizers and coalition members in breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of service. picture-12

On the morning of January 19th — MLK Day — the Service Nation movement will convene its second large-scale, high profile event to call attention to the need for expanded national service.The event will take place at a public high school in Washington, D.C. After the event guests are invited to participate in a service project.

Celebrities in attendance at the breakfast will be Tobey Maguire (who also attended the Presidential Candidates Forum at the Service Nation Summit in New York last fall), and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Moore and Kutcher will premiere the “Presidential Pledge,” a Web-based video message from entertainment luminaries pledging service commitments.

Other speakers will include Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, Martin Luther King III, and TIME Managing Editor and Service Nation champion Richard Stengel.

Since the September 11, 2008, Service Nation Summit in New York City, a lot has changed. It was just after that event that Lehman Brothers fell, and the economy began to slide out from under us. With the second major gathering of Service Nation, the conversation will turn to policy advances, and the progress that the Serve America Act and The GIVE Act are making in the House and the Senate.

To volunteer in your community on MLK Day, check out the listings on the MLK Day site, or on

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