This vote was on passage of H.R. 1388, legislation, which provided funds for local community service and volunteer organizations. The general intent and substance of the bill had bipartisan support. However, Republicans had expressed concern that the bill did not include language that prohibited funds authorized by it from going to organizations affiliated with groups that promote abortions, as well as political parties and lobbyists, or organizations that have been indicted on voter fraud charges.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who was leading the effort on behalf of the bill, said: “Not only does it provide increased flexibility for states, but it also increases accountability and efficiency within the administration of the programs. H.R. 1388 strengthens existing community and national service programs by providing year-round service opportunities for students and the elderly alike, and further encourages volunteer involvement by disadvantaged youth. This legislation also expands eligibility requirements for senior-focused programs such as Foster Grandparents and the Senior Companion Program, ensuring that individuals with an interest in serving have options available to them. Finally, I am pleased that the legislation reorganizes AmeriCorps activities into several different corps focused on national areas of need such as education, health care, clean energy and veterans. This bill creates 175,000 new service opportunities for Americans.”
Rep. Souder (R-IN) expressed some of the concerns that Republicans had about the bill. He noted that a similar version of this legislation that the House previously passed included a clause restricting the use of funds for sex education. Souder acknowledged that this “is not likely to be a use of this bill, but as a conservative I sometimes have justifiable paranoia about how liberals may use this money.” He then expressed general concern “about the amount of money that the federal government is spending. There are going to be bills in this cycle that many Republicans who might have supported them in the past will have reservations on. We have run up in the first 2 months more additions to the deficit than we had in the first 5 years of the last administration. At some point the question is, how are we going to fund these Treasury bills?”
Other Republicans also had expressed specific concerns, during earlier deliberations on this measure, about the absence of language in the bill prohibiting funds in it from being given to organizations that affiliated with groups that promote or provide abortions, as well as organizations that have been indicted on voter fraud charges.
The legislation passed by a vote of 275-149. Two hundred and forty-nine Democrats and twenty-six Republicans voted “aye”. All one hundred and forty-nine “nay” votes were cast by Republicans. As a result, the House passed the bill providing funds for local community service and volunteer efforts, and sent it to the president to be signed into law.