May 05, 2020

Hirono Joins Bill to Expand National Service Programs like AmeriCorps to Respond to and Recover From Coronavirus

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) cosponsored the Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act, legislation Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced that would expand national service programs like AmeriCorps as the United States responds to and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation would provide funding for 750,000 national service positions over a three year period, expanding AmeriCorps and other national service positions from 75,000 to 150,000 during the first year, and then by an additional 300,000 in each of the next two years. It would also increase program living allowances and education benefits to encourage more participants in these programs and boost essential capacity for the public health care workforce as the nation continues to address the fallout of the coronavirus. 

“In Hawaii, AmeriCorps and other national service programs support some of our most effective community projects within the health care, housing, education, and environmental sectors—including those that provide real assistance for working and middle class families,” Senator Hirono said. “The pandemic we face will require a bold response and recovery. By funding 750,000 national service positions over the next three years, this bill will help us meet the need and the challenge of both a public health crisis and an economic crisis.”

Yesterday, Senator Hirono announced that Hawaii will receive more than $4 million in AmeriCorps funding for the Hawaii Commission for National and Community Service programs, including Kupu’s Environmental Stewardship programs and Legal Aid Society of Hawaii’s Project Kaulike. Earlier this year, the Senator cosponsored a resolution recognizing the contributions of AmeriCorps members and alumni to the United States, and requested strong funding for programs like AmeriCorps to support additional service positions in Fiscal Year 2021.

The Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act is also supported by Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). 

The legislation is supported by more than 100 national service and public health organizations, including Voices for National Service, America’s Service Commissions, City Year, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, FoodCorps, Habitat for Humanity International, Hunger Free America, Jumpstart, National Health Corps, National Senior Corps Association, National Youth Leadership Council, Service Year Alliance, Teach for America, and YouthBuild.