Friday, May 26, 2017

Trump's budget would end federal service programs

AmeriCorps volunteers in an emergency at the Oroville Dam in California (NYT photo)
Breaking from longstanding tradition, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, if enacted, would eliminate many service programs started under Presidents John F. Kennedy an Richard Nixon.

The programs include Corporation for National and Community Service, and with it, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Volunteers in Service to America, one of Kennedy’s first national service programs, reports Erica Green of The New York Times.

"He would zero out a popular loan-forgiveness program for graduates who choose public-service jobs [in rural areas], and he would cut the Peace Corps by 15 percent," Green reports. "The cuts would extend to other programs that encourage young Americans to teach in at-risk schools, become police officers or take careers in social work."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps, which helped the country recover from the Great Depression, and each president since, regardless of political affiliation, has used service programs to encourage citizens to help tackle problems like poverty and housing and disaster relief. The programs also offer young people experience and create jobs. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps for service abroad, and VISTA for those wishing to serve at home.

Trump’s tax and spending blueprint for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, is a departure from a nearly century-old tradition of layering service programs on existing service programs. The proposed cut to the Peace Corps would be the largest the agency has seen in 40 years, according to National Peace Corps Association.

"The Trump administration has said the proposals are part of the larger effort to balance the nation’s budget, emphasize national security and spend taxpayer dollars on programs that are efficient and effective," Green notes, adding that the proposal is almost certain to face bipartisan opposition.

No comments: