Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
San Jose, CA – During a service day event held at Kennedy Elementary School in San Jose today, U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) called on President Bush and Republicans in Congress to carry out the promises made about AmeriCorps.
“If President Bush and Congress do not help to solve AmeriCorps’ financial crisis, they will cripple a program that helps place young people across this country in worthy organizations like Teach for America, Habitat for Humanity and City Year,” said Lofgren. “I call on President Bush to fulfill his promise and urge Congress to fund AmeriCorps immediately. Communities, schools and children depend on these volunteers to provide much needed work across the country.”
In his State of the Union address, President Bush proposed an increase in the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 50,000 to 75,000, but reduced grants to the program from $364 million in fiscal year 2003 to $324 million in fiscal year 2004. On Wednesday, July 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee added $100 million in the fiscal year 2004 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. If the House approves this funding, President Bush could finally fulfill his promise by August.
AmeriCorps is a national service program that engages more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps members serve through more than 2,100 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based organizations. They tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, and help communities respond to disasters. Created in 1993, AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also oversees Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. As part of the AmeriCorps program City Year was established in San Jose in 1994 and has become a critical part of the community.