Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Just a quick note...
Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the 'Next Generation of National Service". While the committee Chairman, Senator Sir Edward Kennedy, KBE, was unable to attend, it was still a very productive and informative hearing, and also a chance to see which members (if any) opposed the Serve America Act, the main national service bill being championed in Congress.
I've written on the issue before, but as a recap: The Serve America Act (SAA) is a bill introduced by Sir Edward Kennedy and Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch that seeks to reinvigorate national service in a variety of ways. Specifically, it would provide $5 billion over five years to fund 250,000 volunteers in energy, the environment, healthcare, and education. The bill also seek to encourage and empower social entrepreneurs by creating 'Community Solution Funds' to serve as a type of venture capital for innovative approaches to civic issues. The SAA would also support various means of measuring the impact of these social investments. Specifically, by adding America's Civic Health Index, currently produced by NCoC, as part of the census.
The bill was mentioned specifically by President Obama in his appearance before a joint session of Congress in February, and has a prominent list of coponsors. At yesterday's hearing the Senators present all spoke in favor of the bill (Hatch, Mikulski, Murray, McCain, Enzi, Dodd). Additionally, testimony was heard from a variety of leaders, including the head of City Year, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and others.