Posted on June 18, 2003
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander today applauded the passage of S. 1276, "The Strengthen AmeriCorps Program Act of 2003" by unanimous consent. Alexander was an original co-sponsor of the legislation. "I believe in the importance of community service," Alexander said. "I like the AmeriCorps programs in Tennessee and support their continuation. This bill goes a long way to sort out the bureaucratic mess that has threatened cutbacks in these programs." The legislation restores the level of AmeriCorps members that can enroll and resolves the dispute between the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Accounting Office (GAO). The bill allows the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to fund AmeriCorps education award grants based on conservative estimates of awards earned and used by AmeriCorps volunteers. According to the corporation, 50,000 AmeriCorps volunteers would be enrolled in 2003, an increase from 35,000. It also establishes a central reserve fund to protect the CNCS against over-enrollment of AmeriCorps members. The bill requires the chief executive officer to certify that the National Service Trust Fund contains adequate funds to meet education award liabilities and requires an independent audit of the corporation's funding formula. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are sponsors of the bill in the Senate.