Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Give Act Some Clarification

Provided by Christina

Some Clarification on the amendment:

Section 125 (42 U.S.C. 12575) is amended to read as follows: [Page: H3605]
``(a) Prohibited Activities.--A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:
``(1) Attempting to influence legislation.
``(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
``(3) Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing.
``(4) Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.
``(5) Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.
``(6) Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
``(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
``(8) Providing a direct benefit to--
``(A) a business organized for profit;
``(B) a labor organization;
``(C) a partisan political organization;
``(D) a nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 except that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and
``(E) an organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph (7), unless Corporation assistance is not used to support those religious activities.
``(9) Conducting a voter registration drive or using Corporation funds to conduct a voter registration drive.
``(10) Such other activities as the Corporation may prohibit.
``(b) Ineligible Organizations.--No assistance provided under this subtitle may be provided to the following types of organizations (including the participation of a participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle in activities conducted by such organizations) or to organizations that are co-located on the same premises as the following organizations:
``(1) Organizations that provide or promote abortion services, including referral for such services.
``(2) For-profit organizations, political parties, labor organizations, or organizations engaged in political or legislative advocacy.
``(3) Organizations that have been indicted for voter fraud.
``(c) Nondisplacement of Employed Workers or Other Volunteers.--A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not perform any services or duties or engage in activities which--
``(1) would otherwise be performed by an employed worker as part of his or her assigned duties as an employee or by another volunteer who is not a participant in an approved national service position; or
``(2) will supplant the hiring of employed workers or work of such other volunteers.''.
Amend the table of contents in section 1(b) by striking the item relating to section 1304 and inserting the following:
Sec..1304..Prohibited activities and ineligible organizations.
Amend the table of contents of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (as proposed to be amended by section 4101 of the bill) by striking the item relating to section 125 and inserting the following:
``Sec..125..Prohibited activities and ineligible organizations.''.
Ms. FOXX (during the reading). I ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from North Carolina?
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from North Carolina is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, this motion to recommit codifies current regulations with regard to activities and organizations ineligible for grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps volunteers.
The activities include lobbying, protesting, union organizing, engaging in partisan political activities or religious instruction, conducting voter registration, or providing direct benefits to for-profit businesses, labor unions or political parties.
It also adds to the list of organizations, those that promote or provide abortions, as well as for-profit organizations, political parties, labor organizations, lobbyists, and those indicted for voter fraud. Organizations are also prohibited from receiving funds under these instructions if they are also co-located with an organization that engages in prohibited activities.
Finally, no organization that receives funds under this bill may displace current employed workers or volunteers.
Madam Speaker, the overriding principle here is that money is fungible. Funds must be used for the purpose of service and encouraging others to serve within their communities. They must not be allowed to be used for prohibited activities.
Groups that might be eligible for these grants and volunteers, if this motion to recommit were not to pass, include a laundry list of organizations that engage in activities that many Americans do not support.
For example, ACORN employees and supervisors have been indicted for voter fraud in recent history. During the 2008 election, proof surfaced that voter registration by the group was, in the words of the New York Times, ``vastly overstated,'' including registrations for Disney characters and Dallas Cowboy football players. Experts say that instances of inaccurate registration and fraud are greater when volunteers receive payment for their services. The American taxpayer should not be forced to pay for fraudulent behavior in the name of promoting community service.
For the current 2008-2009 AmeriCorps service year, Oregon Planned Parenthood has listed position for a paid volunteer. This AmeriCorps volunteer would be responsible for ``providing, promoting and protecting access to reproductive sexual health care for the women, men, and teens.''
While individuals should be aware of how to access health care services within their communities, the Federal Government prohibits use of Federal funds to be used for abortion as a form of family planning. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S. Federal taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund volunteers at organizations such as this.
Volunteerism plays a critical role in meeting many needs in our society. However, the Federal Government should not be paying individuals to volunteer their time at locations that are prohibited from receiving taxpayer dollars, especially when Americans are already facing budget constraints from all the demands they face. This is not acceptable.
This motion to recommit ensures that taxpayer dollars are not directed toward programs that are politically divisive and morally objectionable. It also ensures that AmeriCorps volunteers and recipients of corporation grants do not disrupt current volunteer activities and employee responsibilities.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Madam Speaker, I am against it, but I will not oppose it.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Members of the House, I want to begin by thanking all of you for your support for this legislation, for the bipartisan support we have received throughout the committee deliberations in our committee, and the support that we received both in the Rules Committee and on the floor today.
As we went through the amendment process, Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle spoke in favor of this most important American value, and that is service to our country, service to our neighbors, service to our communities, and that's what's reflected in this legislation. It is a rather remarkable mosaic of organizations and individuals from every corner of this country, from large cities to small rural towns that have responded to the needs of others, and they have responded without question. They have responded with their skills, their talents, and they have come forth to build a stronger America and a better community.
Earlier today at an event that we had with many of the volunteers to discuss this legislation, we were honored with the presence of Captain Scott Quilty, who retired from the Army after 10 years of service as a decorated infantry captain and Army Ranger during his tour in Iraq, where he led a platoon assigned to train, assess and build the operational capacity of a 460-man element of the Iraqi Army. [Page: H3606]
In that tour of duty, he lost an arm and a leg. When he returned to America, as if he hadn't given enough service to America, he immediately joined the organization of Survivor Corps to help our returning vets when they come back to this country after serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places around the world, to reintegrate with their families, their communities, their schools, their jobs, their friends, their neighbors.
We were honored with Scott Quilty. And at that very same service, a gentleman walked up to me and handed me these, many of us see this when we tour our Army bases or our Air Force Bases or meet with the troops, it's called the Young Marines, and they do much of the same service. They give their time to our veterans. But they are not the only ones. We have senior grandparents, we have Teach For America, we have Jumpstart, we have Americans doing all of this.
We have Americans in the AmeriCorps that organized over 300,000 hours of volunteer service when the floods hit Iowa. They were there first. They came with their first responders in California with the wildfires and with the floods. They showed up early and they stayed late with Katrina and Rita.
This is what we celebrate with this legislation, and I want to thank you for your support and your good words on behalf of these people, Americans all, who step forward every time one of us needs them or the community needs them.
This legislation will strengthen and enable more Americans to be able to do so. It will tie in an educational benefit so that young children can have a service experience in middle school and high school and schools will become the center of service for young people in their communities.
Now let me get to the motion to recommit. I think, as we have only seen it for a few minutes, I think most of the motion to recommit is, in fact, already covered in statutes, regulations and the grant agreements that are issued. We are well aware of these issues. The Members on both sides of the aisle have spoken to them, and they have offered statutes, not only in this act, but in other acts, making sure that people who get these grants don't engage in activities that they should not be.
So we plan to accept this amendment. I appreciate the gentlewoman offering it, and we will take it to conference.
But, again, I want to thank you for supporting this legislation in advance of your support, and I would ask that you feel free to vote for the motion to recommit.
Again, I ask for passage of the bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit.
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, the Chair will reduce to 5 minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote on the question of passage.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 318, noes 105, not voting 8, as follows:
[Roll No. 139]

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