Among the Republican Study Committee, or RSC’s many proposed spending cuts is elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, and its programs such as AmeriCorps. While it is unlikely the RSC’s proposal could pass the Senate or survive the president’s veto, this eagerness to cut national service provides an opportunity to explain why continued investment in these programs is so important.
States and cities are facing record budget shortfalls and they are poised to make dramatic cutbacks in public education, health care, and other needed services. A recent study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that at least 46 states and the District of Columbia have made cuts since 2008 that affect vulnerable citizens. Thirty-one have cut health care, 35 have cut K-12 education, and 30 have cut services to the elderly and disabled. Now more than ever programs such as AmeriCorps are providing vital services to fill in the gaps as states and cities make tough choices and cut the services that so many people depend upon.
AmeriCorps members serve in schools and health clinics across the country, restore the natural environment in state parks, and help communities prepare for emergencies so damages to life and property are minimized. Senior Corps members work with disadvantaged children to provide the extra tutoring and support that school systems cannot afford. And the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps mobilizes teams of members to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters that include hurricanes, floods, and forest fires. All around the country, national service members are working day in and day out to supply communities with services that would otherwise not be provided.
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