U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has thrown his support behind a proposal from U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., to expand national service programs to help the U.S. respond from the coronavirus pandemic.
Coons introduced the “Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act” on Tuesday and Rubio and U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Cory Booker, D-NJ, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Angus King, I-Maine, Jack Reed, D-RI, and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., cosponsored it.
The bill “would double the number of AmeriCorps positions available this year to 150,000 and provide a total of 600,000 service opportunities nationwide over the next three years to unemployed youth and others looking to assist their communities” and the “positions could support a variety of response and recovery efforts based on community needs, including expanding food pantry capacity, mentoring and tutoring at-risk students, bridging health inequities by expanding access to COVID-19 screening and testing, and more.
“As our nation strives to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that Americans are able to get back to dignified work,” Rubio said. “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that will help Americans, especially Americans facing unemployment, contribute to our recovery by serving our local communities, promoting public health, and promoting economic recovery both for themselves and their own families, and for the community and nation they serve.”
“Thousands of young people across the country are calling for greater opportunity and for new and meaningful engagement to address persistent inequities that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19,” Coons said. “Now is the time to mobilize that energy to make our communities stronger and healthier for everyone. The CORPS Act will empower Americans to give back to their communities while earning a college opportunity and valuable skills for the future. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Wicker and my colleagues at this critical time and look forward to working with them to include it in the next relief package considered by the Senate.”
The bill has the support of more than 150 groups including City Year, Habitat for Humanity International, Hunger Free America, Jumpstart, National Health Corps, National Senior Corps Association, National Youth Leadership Council and YouthBuild.
The proposal was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee this week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
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