January 26, 2003 - USA Today: Bush's Plan for Citizen Corps takes a hit

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 01 January 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: January 26, 2003 - USA Today: Bush's Plan for Citizen Corps takes a hit

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 9:31 pm: Edit Post

Bush's Plan for Citizen Corps takes a hit





Read and comment on this story from USA Today on President Bush's Citizen Corps, a volunteer organization under the same USA Freedom Corps umbrella as the Peace Corps. Congress approved $25 million in seed money last year. With it, administration officials say, 303 local Citizen Corps councils have been established and 200,000 volunteers have been trained. The White House sought $200 million more for the program this year. But despite having Republican majorities, the House approved only $30 million, the Senate $15 million. Negotiations aren't expected to produce much more. Read the story at:

Bush's volunteer plan takes a hit*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Bush's volunteer plan takes a hit

By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON A federal program created by President Bush last year as a way for average citizens to "join in the war against terror" is being scaled back by Congress.

President Bush speaks about the volunteer Citizen Corps program in Knoxville, Tenn. last April.
By Ron Edmonds, AP

Bush proposed the Citizen Corps program in last year's State of the Union address as a way to harness Americans' patriotism and desire to serve after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was modeled after President Kennedy's Peace Corps and President Clinton's AmeriCorps, although Citizen Corps volunteers are not paid. (Related item: Volunteers of America)

"America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized in major emergencies, volunteers to help police and fire departments, transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger," Bush said at the time.

Congress approved $25 million in seed money last year. With it, administration officials say, 303 local Citizen Corps councils have been established and 200,000 volunteers have been trained.

The White House sought $200 million more for the program this year. But despite having Republican majorities, the House approved only $30 million, the Senate $15 million. Negotiations aren't expected to produce much more.

John Scofield, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said Citizen Corps was one of many budgetary "losers" this year as Congress sought to reduce spending. "We have a scarce amount of resources, and the program was never well-defined," he said.

Citizen Corps was designed to help towns and cities train volunteers to respond to emergencies and disasters. Along with basic first aid, the short training courses often teach volunteers how to guard their neighborhoods, suppress fires and evacuate buildings.

Advocates say the program is useful because it helps people respond to possible terrorist attacks as well as other emergencies, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and chemical spills. Mike Brown, the new undersecretary for emergency preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security, said that without additional funds, the number of people who can be trained will be limited.

"There is so much we can do and so much the president wants to accomplish," Brown said. Without more money, "We won't be able to expand." Detractors say the government cannot afford another program that promotes volunteerism. They say would-be volunteers have other options, including programs run by non-profits.

Some Citizen Corps leaders in the states said cuts in federal funds could obliterate their programs.

"The money will be key to keeping people involved," said Heather Handyside, who runs Citizen Corps in Anchorage, which has trained 1,200 volunteers. "After 9/11, there was a lot of public interest. But to keep these people motivated throughout the year requires follow-up and training. We're talking about something that's long-term. There needs to be a commitment."

Others were more sanguine about the funding battles in Washington. They said they could function with local and private dollars.

"If the federal money came, we were all going to jump for joy," said Terry Dee, who runs Citizen Corps in southern Arizona. "But we never really thought it would come."

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Top Stories and Discussion on PCOL
Improvements needed in Volunteer Support ServicesWhere the Peace Corps Bill stands
Dodd's Amended Bill passes in SenateElection 2002:  RPCVs run for office
Peace Corps Volunteers Safe in Ivory CoastA Profile of Gaddi Vasquez
Sargent Shriver and the Politics of Life911:  A Different America
USA Freedom Corps - "paved with good intentions"PCV hostage rescued from terrorists


Top Stories and Discussion on PCOL
GAO reports on Volunteer Safety and SecurityPeace Corps out of Russia?
Help the New Peace Corps Bill pass CongressUSA Freedom Cops TIPS Program
Senior Staff Appointments at Peace Corps HeadquartersFor the Peace Corps Fallen
Senator Dodd holds Hearings on New Peace Corps LegislationThe Debate over the Peace Corps Fund
Why the Peace Corps needs a Fourth GoalThe Peace Corps 40th plus one
The Case for Peace Corps IndependenceThe Controversy over Lariam
The Peace Corps and Homeland SecurityDirector Vasquez meets with RPCVs
RPCV Congressmen support Peace Corps' autonomyPeace Corps Expansion:  The Numbers Game?
When should the Peace Corps return to Afghanistan?Peace Corps Cartoons



Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; USA Freedom Corps; Citizen Corps

PCOL2188
91

.


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: