America’s Call to Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act
National and community service helps hundreds of thousands of Americans each year through disaster relief efforts, education initiatives, infrastructure and public works projects, public healthcare and outreach, and countless other fields. Currently, service organizations turn away more applicants than they accept—and communities in need of their assistance sometimes have to go without. John Larson and Jack Reed have a plan to change that.
America’s Call to Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act would achieve the following goals:
1. Reduce the burden of student loan debt by ensuring young people who serve two full terms of service are rewarded with an educational benefit equal to four years of average in-state tuition where their college is located.
2. Ensure that educational benefit is exempt from federal taxes.
3. Advance national and community service as a civic and national priority by elevating the Corporation of National & Community Service (CNCS) to a new Cabinet-level agency
4. Support at least one million full-time federal service positions a year—providing all who wish to serve the opportunity to do so.
5. Increase access to national service opportunities by raising Americorps living stipend amounts.
6. Create a 21st Century American Service Outreach Program to notify eligable individuals about opportunities to serve.
Right now, less than 1% of the nation serves in the military, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps combined—but not through lack of interest. In 2012, AmeriCorps alone received nearly 600,000 applications, but was forced to turn away nearly 80% of those who just wanted to make a difference in their communities. Americans who wish to serve should be encouraged to do so, and we have the power to do that.
More on National Service
Hartford, CT – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) joined Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps Volunteers for the Mayor and County Day of Recognition for National Service. Nearly 700 AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps volunteers currently serve the city of Hartford, and Larson will soon introduce legislation to expand service opportunities to even more Americans.