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Collins, King Join Bipartisan Group in Introducing Legislation to Expand National Service to Bolster COVID-19 Recovery

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) joined a group of bipartisan colleagues in introducing the Cultivating Opportunity and Recovery from the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act, legislation that would expand national service programs significantly to help the country recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 public health emergency. 


“From delivering meals to supporting remote learning to providing critical outreach to seniors experiencing loneliness, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are making a lasting difference in the lives of countless individuals in Maine, particularly during the challenges of the past year,” said Senator Collins.  “The CORPS Act builds on the existing foundation of successful service by providing flexibility to meet local needs and increasing our overall investment in national service programs to help our communities rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.”


“Throughout the pandemic, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have stepped up to provide essential support to neighbors in need,” said Senator King.  “In the face of overwhelming obstacles, these leaders have responded with energy, joy, and compassion, bringing light in a dark moment to struggling Americans in large cities and remote regions.  Their work has been essential to our communities, and we should be taking every possible opportunity to expand these national service programs so they can continue to play a major role during our recovery. I’m standing with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to advocate for these service organizations, because I will always bet on the American people’s capacity to respond to challenges with dedication, ingenuity, and kindness for their neighbors.”


“The entire Maine National Service family and Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, are grateful to Senator Collins and Senator King for co-sponsoring the CORPS Act.  It has critical improvements that not only expand individual opportunities to serve and hone skills, but also provides flexibilities that will expand rural communities’ opportunities to receive help from National Service,” said Maryalice Crofton, Executive Director of Volunteer Maine.  “As long-time champions of service, Maine’s Senators Collins and King know the added time and effort of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Senior volunteers will be a catalyst for local recovery plans.”


“We appreciate Senators Susan Collins and Angus King’s co-sponsorship of the CORPS Act which expands volunteer opportunities for all ages and recognizes the role older adults play in addressing critical community needs.  AmeriCorps Seniors in Maine have been providing essential services throughout the pandemic and know there is still much to do,” said Susan Lavigne, Director of Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions.  “Foster Grandparents connected virtually with classrooms reading with their students and serving as pen pals, Senior Companions are making weekly telephone reassurance calls to other older adults at risk of losing their independence providing vital socialization, arranging grocery deliveries and transportation to medical appointments, and RSVP volunteers are making significant contributions by supporting vaccination clinics and food pantries.”


“We are so proud that Senator Collins and Senator King are co-sponsors of the Corps Act which strengthens and expands AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors in Maine.  This will empower Mainers of all ages to roll up their sleeves and get to work helping Maine communities recover from Covid through volunteering and service,” said Tess Scannell, Former Director of Senior Corps.  “Once again, Senator Collins and Senator King are leading efforts to support local, community driven initiatives in Maine’s rural and hard hit communities.”


“America’s Service Commissions is proud to endorse the bipartisan CORPS Act as it is reintroduced in the 117th Congress,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions (ASC).  “This bill is a bold-but-realistic proposal to make AmeriCorps, state service commissions, national service and volunteer programs a cornerstone of our nation’s long-term economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Expanding national service opportunities and benefits is essential to making service accessible to all and engaging a diverse group of Americans who want to serve our country and gain valuable job skills and experience in the process.  The CORPS Act also provides governors and their state service commissions the flexibility they need to get these national service resources out the door to local communities and nonprofits quickly and efficiently.  Our network stands ready to implement the CORPS Act across all states and territories during the COVID economic recovery period.”


“National service continues to play a critical role in our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and it has the power to help America recover and rebuild.  Service Year Alliance is proud to support the bipartisan CORPS Act which will allow existing programs to expand their impact and will jumpstart the creation of new national service programs to boost our recovery efforts,” said Jesse Colvin, CEO of Service Year Alliance.  “National service has the power to tackle youth unemployment by mobilizing the next generation of Americans and putting them on a path to good-paying jobs and future education.  As the Administration and Congress set their sights on the American Jobs Plan and rebuilding our economy, expanding national service can put the voices of communities at the center of the effort to combat our climate crisis and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.  Additionally, by increasing the living allowance, engaging young people from diverse populations, and focusing on the creation of new programs that specifically support underserved communities, the CORPS Act is a step in the right direction towards making national service a more equitable and inclusive opportunity for all young Americans.”


The CORPS Act would increase the number of AmeriCorps positions available to support a variety of response and recovery efforts based on community needs, including expanding food bank capacity, mentoring and tutoring students recovering from learning loss, helping to improve housing, and more.


In addition to Senators Collins and King, the legislation was introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jack Reed (D-RI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).


Click HERE to read a one-page summary of the bill.