August 05, 2020
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), announced that he has cosponsored the Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act. The legislation, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (Del.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.), would expand national service programs to help the nation respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Americans are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way they’ve always responded to major national challenges – with an eagerness to do whatever they can to help their neighbors and communities make it through this crisis,” said Blunt. “National service organizations have the infrastructure in place to connect people who want to serve with opportunities to fill critical needs in their communities. I’m proud to join Senators Coons and Wicker on this bill to expand the capacity of national service organizations to mobilize support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Many of us have seen the very real impact that national service has on our communities and the young people who serve,” said Coons. “As our country works to respond to and recover from this pandemic, we should empower the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are ready to roll up their sleeves and serve their communities – whether it’s helping to combat hunger, strengthen our schools, or build capacity at community-based organizations. Senator Wicker and I are grateful for the support of Senator Blunt and our colleagues, and look forward to working with them to include this important effort in the COVID-19 relief bill currently being considered in the Senate.”
“Helping our nation respond to and recover from the coronavirus outbreak will require an all-hands approach,” said Wicker. “Boosting the ranks of our service corps is a cost-efficient way to get communities the help they need. I am glad to join Senator Coons in introducing the CORPS Act, which would enhance our national service programs and provide participants with the resources they need to endure this crisis. With their contributions, I am hopeful our nation can emerge stronger than ever before.”
As Labor/HHS Chair, Blunt has lead efforts in the Senate to increase funding for national service programs. Under Blunt’s chairmanship, the Labor/HHS subcommittee has increased funding for AmeriCorps State and National Grants by $93 million, or 28%, and Senior Corps by $19 million, or 9%. Blunt was recognized earlier this year for his support of national service programs.
The CORPS Act would quickly double the number of AmeriCorps positions available to 150,000 and provide a total of 600,000 service opportunities nationwide over the next three years to unemployed youth and others looking to assist their communities. These positions could support a variety of response and recovery efforts based on community needs, including expanding food pantry capacity, mentoring and tutoring at-risk students, bridging health inequities by expanding access to COVID-19 screening and testing, and more. The bill has gained the support of more than 160 organizations, including Voices for National Service, America’s Service Commissions, Service Year Alliance, FoodCorps, the Catholic Volunteer Network, and The Corps Network.
For a one-pager on the CORPS Act, please click here.