God save us from bipartisanship, part 99,995,857. GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, co-sponsor of the $6 billion GIVE/SERVE boondoggle, has dedicated the Big Government Trojan Horse to Ted Kennedy:
Sen. Orrin Hatch capped his decadeslong friendship with cancer-stricken Sen. Ted Kennedy on Thursday with a gesture that had Kennedy hugging him as other senators stood and applauded: Hatch renamed a bill they had just passed to expand national service programs the Edward M. Kennedy National Service Law.
“It is a great honor to be able to add the name of a very good friend and senator, one of the most distinguished of all-time, to this bill,” Hatch told the Senate. “We expect this to multiply into 7 million volunteers, and to call it the Edward M. Kennedy bill is a great honor for all of us.”
Ironically, when Hatch first ran for the Senate back in 1976, he said he was running so he could go to Washington and fight Kennedy. But they managed to become close friends — and worked on many bills through the years trying to bridge interests between liberals and conservatives.
About their, perhaps, last bill together, Hatch said, “It marries what is typically thought of as a ‘liberal’ instinct for government to make proactive efforts to help those in need with the typical ‘conservative’ desire to place more power in the hands of individuals instead of the government.”
On a related note, the congressional push to study a mandatory service requirement was dropped from the GIVE/SERVE package, but is part of a stand-alone bill to establish the “Congressional Commission on Civic Service.”
It’s HR 1444:
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To establish the Congressional Commission on Civic Service to study methods of improving and promoting volunteerism and national service, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Congressional Commission on Civic Service Act’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The social fabric of the United States is stronger if individuals in the United States are committed to protecting and serving our Nation by utilizing national service and volunteerism to overcome our
(2) A more engaged civic society will strengthen the Nation by bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to work on solutions to some of our Nation’s major challenges.
(3) Despite declines in civic health in the past 30 years, national service and volunteerism among the Nation’s youth are increasing, and existing national service and volunteer programs greatly enhance opportunities for youth to engage in civic activity.
(4) In addition to the benefits received by nonprofit organizations and society as a whole, volunteering and national service provide a variety of personal benefits and satisfaction and can lead to new paths of civic engagement, responsibility, and upward mobility.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT.
There is established in the legislative branch a commission to be known as the ‘Congressional Commission on Civic Service’ (in this Act referred to as the ‘Commission’).
SEC. 4. DUTIES.
(a) General Purpose- The purpose of the Commission is to gather and analyze information in order to make recommendations to Congress to–
(1) improve the ability of individuals in the United States to serve others and, by doing so, to enhance our Nation and the global community;
(2) train leaders in public service organizations to better utilize individuals committed to national service and volunteerism as they manage human and fiscal resources;
(3) identify and offer solutions to the barriers that make it difficult for some individuals in the United States to volunteer or perform national service; and
(4) build on the foundation of service and volunteer opportunities that are currently available.
(b) Specific Topics- In carrying out its general purpose under subsection (a), the Commission shall address and analyze the following specific topics:
(1) The level of understanding about the current Federal, State, and local volunteer programs and opportunities for service among individuals in the United States.
(2) The issues that deter volunteerism and national service, particularly among young people, and how the identified issues can be overcome.
(3) Whether there is an appropriate role for Federal, State, and local governments in overcoming the issues that deter volunteerism and national service and, if appropriate, how to expand the relationships and partnerships between different levels of government in promoting volunteerism and national service.
(4) Whether existing databases are effective in matching community needs to would-be volunteers and service providers.
(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.
(8) The means to develop awareness of national service and volunteer opportunities at a young age by creating, expanding, and promoting service options for primary and secondary school students 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.
(10) The effect on United States diplomacy and foreign policy interests of expanding service opportunities abroad, such as the Peace Corps, and the degree of need and capacity abroad for an expansion.
(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.
(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.
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