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Rep. McDermott’s H.R. 1444 now in House Committee on Education and Labor: next step to Fed’l Commission and Mandatory Service.

29 March, 2009

As I mentioned in my last post, Joygrace alerted me about this bill last Thursday.  Although I took a quick look at it, I knew it would come to nothing until the SERVE America bill passed.  Next week is the budget debate and then the recess – where they all get to go out and play at home for a while, instead of wheeling and dealing in Congress.  That gives us plenty of time to read the bill (which is in a tab on my home page).

Purpose of the ” The Congressional Commission on Civic Service Act”

To establish the Congressional Commission on Civic Service to study methods of improving and promoting volunteerism and national service, and for other purposes.  (Bold emphasis mine)

Why, if it was so necessary to study how to “improve” volunteerism, did they pass the SERVE AMERICA bill so rapidly?   Why not do the studying first and include it in the bill?   Maybe they knew there would have been a bigger uproar than when the bill was passed and they simply wanted to get service into law and then get to the mandatory part.  Or maybe it had something to do with making another Commission.

Notice that this bill has been planned since at least November.  “VerDate  Nov 24 2008 01:45   Mar 12, 2009” (from the   version verified by the Government Printing Office available at

Here are some of The Findings of Congress  (Anyone know how they found this out?).

The social fabric of the United States is stronger if individuals in the United States are committed to protecting and serving our Nation by utilizing national service and volunteerism to overcome our civic challenges…


national service and volunteerism among  the Nation’s youth are increasing,

So why do we need to legislate volunteerism if the “youth” are volunteering?

In addition to the benefits received by nonprofit organizations and society as a whole, volunteering and national service provide a variety of personal benefits and satisfaction and can lead to new  paths of civic engagement, responsibility, and upward mobility. (emphasis mine)

Unless I am grossly misreading this sentence, taxpayers are being asked (during a world-wide economic crisis) to fund upward mobility for the nation’s youth.  Again, I thought this was a part of the Serve America Act what with all those Corps being created to offer training in various career possibilities as well as the stipends and educational grants.  What about this bill makes it so necessary?

Here is some of the wording about the Commission’s duties that may answer that question.  (All bold emphasis mine)

…to gather and analyze information in order to make recommendations to Congress to—

(1) improve the ability of individuals in the United States to serve others…

(2) train leaders in public service organizations to better utilize individuals committed to national service and  volunteerism as they manage human and fiscal resources…

(3) identify and offer solutions to the barriers that make it difficult for some individuals in the United States to volunteer or perform national service…

I believe words matter and I don’t like being thought of a resource.  I do not want to be utilized.  I certainly do not want the federal government to improve my ability to serve others.  This language makes my hackles rise.  I know what has happened to our national resources and I do not want to go down that path.  I am an individual in a country built by individuals who bonded together voluntarily for their greater good.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. 30 March, 2009 21:15

    I’ve been researching these last couple of bills on this subject. I really liked what this particular senator said. I wish there had been more people in the room to hear it . Maybe these wouldn’t have passed so quickly. On the other hand, I am so disillusioned with the utter disregard our elected officials are giving their constitutes wishes. Is there no honest man left in the senate? DeMint seems to be one…Wish there were more.

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