What made America strong in the past (citizens actively helping their neighbours) could possibly make America strong again. There is a bill moving through the Congress, the Hatch-Kennedy
Serve America Act, that is bringing Republicans and Democrats together.
The Act puts a whole new perspective on national and community service: government
would provide infrastructure support to community groups recruiting and
training volunteers. This has the potential to impact a vast number of
local organizations that respond to community needs and individuals who are looking for new careers.
Sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy,
D-Mass., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the measure would provide $5 billion over five
years to be distributed to people
of all ages who volunteer in the areas of health care, energy,
education and the environment in the form of minimal living expenses and an educational stipend.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing March 10th on the
Serve America Act, and supporters hope to pass it before Congress recesses in
April. A Senate committee signed
off on it last Wednesday, and it could come up for a full Senate vote next week.