The vote was on House passage of H.R. 1388, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act (the “GIVE Act”). This legislation, among other things, reauthorized funds for existing national service programs including AmeriCorps, several faith-based organizations, and many other local community service and volunteer efforts. It also established four new service corps including the Clean Energy Corps to encourage energy efficiency and conservation, the Education Corps to help increase student engagement in volunteerism, the Healthy Futures Corps to improve health care access, and the Veterans Service Corps to enhance services for veterans.
Rep. Matsui (D-CA), who led the support for the bill, described the Act as “bipartisan legislation . . . that strengthens our communities helps educate our future generations, teaches our youth to prepare for and respond to unthinkable tragedies and fosters the growth of respect and compassion throughout our entire society. . . The legislation emphasizes the critical role of service in meeting the national priorities.”
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who was responsible for setting the strategy on the bill for the Republicans, supported the substance of the legislation and said that he was ”pleased that the Committee on Education and Labor, worked in a bipartisan manner . . . to make the programs more effective and efficient, responding to State and local needs . . . .” He went on to say: “Community service has always been a vital pillar of American society.”
Rep Foxx (R-NC) expressed the opposition that a number of Republicans had to the bill. She argued that the legislation “expands dramatically the government's role in an area that I don't think the government should be dealing with . . . I think it's important that we encourage volunteers, but this is a paid job. This is a government-authorized charity. And it concerns me a great deal because I see our taking over what is being done voluntarily by people . . . We're pretty soon going to have a government that controls everything in our society. That's not what America is all about. . . .” She said she also opposed the bill because it had no accountability for evaluating the programs it funded. Foxx specifically noted that the AmeriCorps National Community Corps Program was characterized by OMB as “ineffective” and had never had a comprehensive evaluation done on it.
The legislation passed by a vote of 321-105. Two hundred and fifty-one Democrats and seventy Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and four Republicans and one Democrat voted “nay”. As a result, the House passed and sent on to the Senate the “GIVE Act”, which provided federal funds for many local community service and volunteer efforts.