Well, a good idea popped up on Capitol Hill recently: the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act -- and unlike the bank bailout, it will cost taxpayers just $3 per person in 2010 and result in practical benefits for communities across America.
The GIVE Act (H.R.1388), known as the Serve America Act (S 227) in the Senate, will expand AmeriCorps and other national service programs from 75,000 positions to 250,000 participants over the next eight years. Currently focused on college-age volunteers, opportunities would include veterans and Americans over 55, as well as middle and high school students. A Congressional Research Service summary of the bill is here.
The bills passed in both the House (321 - 105)and the Senate (79-19) with overwhelming bipartisan support. Twenty-two Republican Senators, including conservatives like Kit Bond, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Orrin Hatch and Judd Gregg, lent their support. In the House, every member of the Michigan Republican delegation -- with the exception of Pete Hoekstra -- supported the bill.
In an unsurprising about-face, Mike Rogers and Thad McCotter decided that they enjoy being the Party of No, and flip-flopped to join Pete Hoekstra in voting against the final version of the bill. As with the budget, Mr. Rogers was for it before he was against it...
(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.
prohibits organizations from attempting to influence legislation; organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes; and assist, promote, or deter union organizing.
Bottom line: Mr. Rogers would rather spout off about cap-and-trade policy than work on practical approaches to tough issues like unemployment, rising college costs, resources for veterans and seniors, and service to country.