President Obama signs Call to Service bill

04/21/09 Seán Kinane
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This afternoon President Barack Obama signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which will fund such service programs as AmeriCorps.

Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, calls it “the most sweeping expansion of national service programs in many, many years” and says it was a “big bipartisan victory.”

“We think that that happened because there are so many people both members of Congress as well as around the country who believe in the impact of national service.”

Barnes says Obama’s 2010 budget “reflects his commitment to service,” through funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. “It requests $1.1 billion dollars for the corporation, which is about a 25 percent increase from last year.”

Alan Solomont is chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service the group that will receive funding. Solomont says the bill signing “comes at a pivotal moment for the nation because of the economic crisis.”

“This is a moment when service and civic participation have become a call to action and a necessity for a healthy democracy and a healthy nation.”

The Corporation for National and Community Services vice chair, Stephen Goldsmith says they are “very excited about the opportunity … to serve so many more Americans.”

“It’s a strong commitment of support for the civic infrastructure that makes our cities and counties in America generally strong places.”

Obama also announced today that he has selected Nike Vice President Maria Eitel to become chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Services.

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