H.R. 1388 has already passed the House – yesterday, in fact.
The breakout of ‘yeas’ and ‘nays’ tells a story all its own:
Now, in spite of the text changes that had to be made again and again to whitewash the recurring references to “camps” and such throughout this Bill on “Invigorating Volunteerism"...
(C) in paragraph (3)--(So - they want their 'Camps' distributed in 'rural' flyover-country...away from population centers? )
(i) by striking ‘superintendent’ and inserting ‘campus director’; and
(ii) by striking ‘camp’ and inserting ‘campus’; and
‘(1) UNITS TO BE ASSIGNED TO CAMPUSES- ’;
(ii) by striking ‘in camps’ and inserting ‘in campuses’;
(iii) by striking ‘camp’ and inserting ‘campus’; and
(iv) by striking ‘in the camps’ and inserting ‘in the campuses’;
‘(3) ELIGIBLE SITE FOR CAMPUS- ’;
(ii) by striking ‘A camp may be located’ and inserting ‘A campus must be cost-effective and may, upon the completion of a feasibility study, be located’;
‘(e) Distribution of Units and Campuses- ’;
(B) by striking ‘camps are distributed’ and inserting ‘campuses are cost-effective and are distributed’; and
(C) by striking ‘rural areas’ and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting ‘rural areas such that each Corps unit in a region can be easily deployed for disaster and emergency response to such region.’; and...
…anyone who supports this Bill is going to tell you “It’s just about supporting volunteer organizations that already exist!” (seriously, the “nuthin’ to see here – move along” crowd is hard at work on the boards) – and will heatedly insist that there’s "Nothing Mandatory” about any of it.
And that’s true – as far as that goes...
But there most assuredly are “requirements” attached to being a recipient of ‘Grants’:
‘(a) Required National Service Corps- The recipient of a grant under section 121(a) and each Federal agency operating or supporting a national service program under section 121(b) shall, directly or through grants or subgrants to other entities, carry out or support the following national service corps, as full- or part-time corps, including during the summer months, to address unmet educational, health, veteran, or environmental needs:And oh, that list does go on – follow THIS LINK, there really is too much to post here.
(make sure anything near to hand isn’t too heavy, hard or sharp for safe throwing)
And not to be overlooked is the incongruity of this piece – in a Bill on ‘Volunteerism’:
“Section 1508 – Authorized Benefits for Corps Members”
Now this only makes reference to language-revisions for this section of the Bill, but THIS LINK will take you to the ‘Benefits’ section itself – to wit:
(a) In general(and there’s more)
The Director shall provide for members of the Civilian Community Corps to receive benefits authorized by this section.
(b) Living allowance
The Director shall provide a living allowance to members of the Corps for the period during which such members are engaged in training or any activity on a Corps project. The Director shall establish the amount of the allowance at any amount not in excess of the amount equal to 100 percent of the poverty line that is applicable to a family of two (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually in accordance with section 9902 (2) of this title.
(c) Other authorized benefits
While receiving training or engaging in service projects as members of the Civilian Community Corps, members may be provided the following benefits:
(1) Allowances for travel expenses, personal expenses, and other expenses.
(7) Recreational services and supplies.
(8) Other services determined by the Director to be consistent with the purposes of the Program.
So – Wages, Housing, Subsistence (food), Transportation & Clothing.
Now, over the years, I’ve built a couple of ‘Habitat’ houses, done pro-bono Legal Advocacy for the local domestic violence shelter and volunteered with a small-town migrant-farm-worker association.
But reading through THAT list of ‘Benefits’, what has become clear is that I’ve apparently lost track of where “Volunteering” ends and where “Working on the Government Collective” begins…. Or is it just me?
Please - anyone - if my idea of ‘Volunteering’ is completely off, chime in and let me know...
Despite the ‘People’s Collective’ theme - again – nothing “Mandatory” in the strictest possible sense – as long as you (or your respective education departments or school districts) don’t take any Grant-money,
But… (‘cause you knew there was going to be one)
The most troubling parts of this are, as such things tend to be, aaalllll the way at the bottom:
TITLE VI--CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON CIVIC SERVICE
(as there’s a fair amount of intro-pablum, I’m going to skip around a little)
SEC. 6103. ESTABLISHMENT.(this is where the creepy parts really get going)
There is established in the legislative branch a commission to be known as the ‘Congressional Commission on Civic Service’ (in this title referred to as the ‘Commission’).
SEC. 6104. DUTIES.
(a) General Purpose- The purpose of the Commission is to gather and analyze information in order to make recommendations to Congress to--
(b) Specific Topics- In carrying out its general purpose under subsection (a), the Commission shall address and analyze the following specific topics:
(5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to perform national service or were required to perform a certain amount of national service.
(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.
(7) The need for a public service academy, a 4-year institution that offers a federally funded undergraduate education with a focus on training future public sector leaders. (because once the service is mandatory... - MD)
(8) The means to develop awareness of national service and volunteer opportunities at a young age by creating, expanding, and promoting service options for elementary and secondary school students, through service learning or other means, and by raising awareness of existing incentives.
(9) The effectiveness of establishing a training program on college campuses to recruit and educate college students for national service.
(11) The constraints that service providers, nonprofit organizations, and State and local agencies face in utilizing federally funded volunteer programs, and how these constraints can be overcome. (I'm thinking 'Mandatory' would 'overcome' - MD)
(12) Whether current Federal volunteer programs are suited to address the special skills and needs of senior volunteers, and if not, how these programs can be improved such that the Federal Government can effectively promote service among the ‘baby boomer’ generation. (so that elderly-social-productiveness can be made mandatory - once the preceding points are stipulated - MD)
So – No, nothing in the current Bill, in its current form is ‘Mandatory’.
But it does yeoman-work in laying down all of the infrastructure needed for an eventual slide toward ‘Mandatory’ – if that were the intention...
Which, according to the Commission’s “Specific Topics” – pretty clearly is exactly the intention.
So, what do we do now?