This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Roe (R-TN) to the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act (the “GIVE Act”), which provided federal funds for local community service and volunteer efforts. The amendment would have capped the authorization level in the GIVE ACT for fiscal year 2010 at the fiscal year 2008 level. Rep. Matsui (D-CA), who opposed the amendment, described the GIVE 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.”
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who led the Republican minority on this legislation, supported the substance of the bill 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 . . . .”
Rep. Roe began his remarks in support of his amendment by saying that “the majority of the programs (supported by the GIVE ACT) are performing well.” He then pointed to “the fact (that) we are in a recession and face record deficits.” Roe argued that his amendment would not prohibit the program from growing and: “(I)f our economy gets back on track and revenues increase, which we all are hoping will happen, I think it's perfectly reasonable in the future years to increase the funding for the program. At least for this year, however, when our focus should be on tightening our belts to lower our deficits, (we should limit the authorizations) . . . .” Roe concluded his remarks on behalf of the amendment by saying:” I have a basic philosophy . . . The government should spend less than it takes in. . . I'm not blaming Republicans or Democrats, because it has occurred under the watch of Presidents of both parties. But now is our chance to do something about it.”
Rep. Andrews, (D-NJ), who opposed the Roe Amendment, said it would replace “carefully reasoned consideration of the growth of the program with an arbitrary standard. I'm quite sympathetic to the author's concern that no program grow more quickly than it should . . . What the bill before us does is to set a maximum limit, an authorization limit, for how much money can go into these programs (and) . . . each year the Appropriations Committee will consider, among competing priorities for the public funds, how much money this program should receive.”
Rep. Roe’s amendment failed by a vote of 175-256, along almost straight party lines. One hundred and seventy-one Republicans and four Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and fifty-three Democrats and three Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the 2010 fiscal year funding for local community service and volunteer efforts was not moved back to its fiscal year 2008 level.