Early in the morning on Saturday, Feb. 19th, the Republican Majority in the US House passed H.R. 1, a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of 2011. As part of their plan, Republicans suggested the complete elimination of the AmeriCorps program. Now, the U.S. Senate is the only thing standing in the way of the end of national service.
To cut federal support for AmeriCorps would be a devastating blow to America's very core. AmeriCorps members commit themselves to improving communities across America for very little pay. In exchange, these volunteers develop professional skills, learn about challenges facing fellow Americans, and make a measurable difference in thousands of ways.
Please sign this letter if you believe that AmeriCorps is a critical thread in our national fabric, and its impact is even more powerful in challenging economic times. We call upon the Senate to Stand for AmeriCorps by supporting the President's vision to increase and strengthen AmeriCorps. In these times, more than ever, we need this critical tool to combat poverty, end homelessness, protect the environment, educate our children, support seniors, and provide hundreds of irreplacable community services.
AmeriCorps, along with the other national service programs under the jurisdiction of the Corporation for National and Community Service has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support since its inception. H.R. 1 takes an unprecedented stand towards destorying this national gem by passing a budget bill that completely defunds AmeriCorps.
I cannot begin to describe the devastation such a cut would wreak on thousands of American communities and livelihoods. More than 85,000 Americans serve as AmeriCorps volunteers annually, and more than half a million Americans have served since the program's founding in 1994. Studies show that AmeriCorps members make significant measurable impacts in the communities they serve, while becoming more informed, engaged, and giving citizens.
In the current economic climate, the destruction of AmeriCorps would certainly cause thousands of Americans to lose access to critical resources and services. Remember these Americans when you vote to set America's financial priorities for FY2011.