Congress Passes American Rescue Plan, $1B to Strengthen and Expand National Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed the final version of the American Rescue Plan, a robust COVID-19 relief funding package that aims to end the dual public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will be sent to President Biden to be signed into law.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), Congressman David Price (NC-04) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), all co-chairs of the National Service Caucus, helped secure $1 billion in funding for AmeriCorps as part of the American Rescue Plan.

The new funding will deploy additional members to support communities’ response to COVID-19, strengthen AmeriCorps’ efforts on diversity and equity, and increase members’ living allowances. It nearly doubles the funding available to AmeriCorps this year and provides flexibility to allocate those funds to response and recovery priorities over the next several years. It also includes provisions to ensure that services to strengthen programs’ diversity and ensure the delivery of culturally competent and, where appropriate, multilingual services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a network of strength and support from every corner of our nation and opened up opportunities in our communities to give back and serve,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Over the past year, AmeriCorps members have once again proved their ability to bridge divides, drive meaningful change, and implement a national plan to serve American families. As we move forward in our recovery, I am proud that we have secured $1 Billion in new funding through the American Rescue Plan to help extend this helping hand to more Americans and empower a new generation of AmeriCorps members to serve their country.”

“Over the last year, people of all ages and backgrounds have answered the call to serve their communities – helping to fill gaps exacerbated by COVID-19, whether by tutoring students, delivering meals, or coordinating logistics at vaccine and testing centers,” said Senator Coons. “AmeriCorps members have made a real difference in our pandemic response and recovery efforts. That’s why Congress is doubling down on the power of national service programs to help build us out of this crisis. This $1 billion in new funding is a down payment as we work to expand national service in the longer term, better support members during and after their service, and allow more Americans to take part in this important work giving back to their communities and country.”

“The American Rescue Plan delivers for the people. As Co-Chair of the Congressional National Service Caucus, I worked to include $1 billion in funding to expand national service programs that will help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Representative Price. “National service volunteers are already on the ground supporting our communities and filling the gaps exacerbated by the pandemic, but more help is urgently needed. This new funding will augment these critical community-based programs, increase benefits to those who serve, and deploy additional members to communities hardest hit across the country.”

National service programs like AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Senior are already on the front lines of the pandemic response – supporting students with distance learning, helping schools to reopen safely, providing counseling and mental support to families, delivering food and medicine to vulnerable populations, helping struggling Americans access government nutrition and rental assistance, and staffing 311 and COVID-19 vaccine hotlines. The new allocation grows members’ role in our recovery by nearly doubling the overall funding available to AmeriCorps this year and providing flexibility to allocate those funds to response and recovery priorities over the next several years.

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