President Bill Clinton created AmeriCorps in 1993 “as a kind of domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps.” Since then, more than 200,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps, providing volunteer assistance most recently in tornado-devasted Greensburg, KS, where they were among the first volunteers dispatched to the area. Seventy-two percent of volunteers return to work in their communities after their service with AmeriCorps ends.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), however, would rather gut the program. Last week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced a Senate resolution “honoring the accomplishments of AmeriCorps.” Previously passed by the House, the symbolic resolution received bipartisan support in the Senate as well.
As The Politico reported, “Coburn took the unusual step of putting a hold on the senatorial platitude, but told its backers that he would consent to it as long as he could make some edits.” In his edits, Coburn neutered any language praising AmeriCorps, removing phrases such as “highly effective” and “significant accomplishments.” He attacked the program, saying it has “been ineffective in demonstrating results, controlling costs, [and] ensuring that AmeriCorps does not duplicate other federal efforts”:
Coburn has attempted to gut AmeriCorps before, introducing an amendment in 2006 to kill a proposal to fund the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps’ umbrella organization, which would have expanded their volunteer base in post-Katrina New Orleans. Throughout his term, President Bush has also slashed funding to the volunteer program.
See Coburn’s handwritten edits to the resolution HERE.