WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) this week joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in passing a bill that will launch a new era of American service and volunteerism. The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act, H.R. 1388, answers President Obama’s call for Americans of all generations to help get the country through the economic crisis by serving and volunteering in their communities.
The House passed the GIVE Act, H.R. 1388, by a vote of 321 to 105. The Senate is considering similar legislation.
“In times of crisis, Americans have always responded with a willingness to serve and a heartfelt commitment to the future of their communities and our nation,” said Congressman Himes. “This bill provides opportunities for all Americans—especially young people— to serve our country.”
The GIVE Act more than triples the number of volunteers, from the current 75,000 to 250,000, and increases the education reward they receive to $5,350 for next year, the same as the maximum Pell Grant scholarship award. The education award is linked to match future boosts in the Pell Grant scholarship in order to keep up with rising college costs. The Act also creates a new national Call to Service campaign to encourage all Americans to get involved in service and would encourage Americans to observe September 11th a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
“We can do the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 no higher honor than to devote a day of service to the nation attacked on that awful day,” said Congressman Himes.
The legislation provides incentives for middle and high school students to volunteer in their communities. It creates a Summer of Service program to engage students in service and allows them to earn a $500 education award to be used for college costs.
- Strengthens existing service programs and creates innovative programs to help improve student achievement and graduation in low-income schools, expand health care access, provide seniors with help living independently, enhance services for veterans, and help build a green, energy-efficient economy;
- Establishes a Veterans Corp to meet the unique needs of veterans and military families;
- Expands the focus of the National Civilian Community Corps to infrastructure improvement, environmental and energy conversation, and urban and rural development, in addition to disaster relief;
- Creates new opportunities for Baby Boomers and seniors to serve and volunteer;
- Recruits scientists and engineers into service to keep America competitive; and
- Builds a nationwide community-based infrastructure to leverage investments in service.
# # #