Barack Obama photo

Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1388 - Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act

March 17, 2009


(House Rules)

(Rep. McCarthy (D) NY and 37 cosponsors)

The President is committed to promoting civic participation and service across the country, and has called on Congress to send him bipartisan legislation to encourage a renewed spirit of national service. The Administration commends the House for acting promptly to move bipartisan legislation to expand high-quality service opportunities and position the Corporation for National and Community Service to support both growth and excellence in the programs it oversees. The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 1388, which will expand national service programs and strengthen the capacity of the Corporation to manage a dramatic increase in service opportunities.

The Administration is pleased that H.R. 1388 would set the Corporation on a path toward 250,000 members. The Administration is strongly committed to this growth, and at the same time, supports measures that enable the Corporation to maintain high-quality programs and manage growth effectively.

The Administration applauds the bill's focus on service learning and provisions that would increase the Eli Segal Education award and link future increases in award amounts to the maximum Pell Grant awards. The Administration has called upon Americans from all walks of life to take part in civic renewal, and is therefore pleased that H.R. 1388 also would expand and improve service opportunities for seniors. In particular, the Administration applauds the responsible and balanced introduction of competition into the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which would better position the program for expansion. Competition should be introduced across all of the Senior Corps programs, improving the quality of service opportunities for seniors while introducing greater accountability and innovation.

As the Federal investment in national service programs increases, the Administration is committed to making the programs more accountable and cost-effective, and supports the many ways in which H.R. 1388 would foster this. In particular, the Administration supports the bill's provisions to consolidate funding in AmeriCorps, giving the Corporation flexibility to support the best programs. The Administration is also pleased that the Committee on Education and Labor added to the bill expanded authority for fixed-amount grants that simplify reporting requirements, ease burdens on grantees, and strengthen accountability for performance.

The Administration is pleased that the Committee added to the bill the President's Budget initiative to create a "Social Innovation Fund" to provide seed money and scale up innovative and evidence-based efforts in the nonprofit sector to address social problems, leveraging private and foundation capital to meet major social challenges.

H.R. 1388 couples expanded and improved national service with the structural changes needed to support growth and produce excellent results for the participants and our Nation. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to perfect the bill and get this important legislation enacted.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 1388 - Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project