The House of Representatives returns from its summer vacation, and an important part of its work is national service programs. The Appropriations Committee has proposed drastic cutbacks which would gut the center of the service programs and fail to make fiscal sense in accounting for how tax dollars are spent.
The proposal eliminates the NCCCs, the arm of AmeriCorps designed to respond to national emergencies such as wildfires and tornadoes.
The proposal slashes the education award by 76 percent. Current AmeriCorps members can earn up to $5,730 for a year of service. The committee wants to cut that amount by three quarters.
To top it off, the committee wants to eliminate the 1.4 percent of the budget which gives states the means to assure programs are operated responsibly and the one half percent of the budget that provides for an independent evaluation of the programs to ensure accountability.
The proposed actions are both penny foolish and pound foolish. There is nothing wise.
National service was instituted by President George H.W. Bush. It was continued by presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. President Obama has followed in the footsteps of these three presidents. This is a bipartisan issue which the current Congress can act upon.