Congress Passes 6 Month Budget Deal
Last week, Congress passed a temporary six month budget deal for FY13, which begins October 1st, that will keep the federal government funded past the 2012 Election through March 27th, 2013. The budget agreement calls for a 0.6% increase for most programs and agencies which would essentially keep national service opportunities level with last year. While national service will be funded for the next 6 months, we must stay vigilant in our efforts to ensure AmeriCorps and the entire CNCS are funded for the remainder of FY13 as well.
- The Republican controlled House of Representatives, who along with other programs are still seeking to eliminate AmeriCorps, wanted to take their proposed cuts off the table for the 2012 Election and they believe they will be in a better position to force their spending cuts after the election with a Republican majority in the Senate and/or a Republican President.
- In return, the Democrat controlled Senate and the White House were able to secure spending levels at the higher spending cap previously agreed to in last year’s Budget Control Act and avoid being forced to make drastic cuts to many of their priorities. In addition, they too believe they will be in a better position to negotiate the remainder of the FY13 budget after the election.
Regardless of who ends up being right, one thing is absolutely clear: It remains critical for national service supporters everywhere to continue engaging and talking with our Members of Congress about the value and impact national service provides locally. Over the last three months alone, ServeNext and our community partners engaged Members of Congress and/or their staff over 62 times. Check out our previous blog post for full accountings of these events.
Despite our best months of local engagement ever, our work is far from over. We will continue to reach out to Members of Congress to invite them to see the value of national service first hand and ask you to do the same. In fact, Members of Congress are now back home and campaigning in their districts until the elections on November 6th. This is the perfect time to go to their events and engage them directly about their support for AmeriCorps. Doing so is the key to building strong, consistent, and bi-partisan support for national service for the remainder of FY13 and beyond.