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Senate Clears Volunteer Legislation

On March 26, the Senate passed, 79-19, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act (H.R. 1388). The House passed the bill, 321-105, on March 18, after adopting, 318-105, a motion to recommit by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to prohibit certain activities and organizations, including those that “provide or promote abortion services, including referral for such services,” from receiving federal funds.

The bill would amend the National Community Service Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-610) and the Domestic Volunteer Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-113) to expand and create national volunteer service programs and to encourage students and senior citizens to participate in community service activities.

During consideration of the measure, the Senate adopted by unanimous consent:

  • a substitute amendment by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) that incorporates the text of the Serve America Act (S. 277), sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and prevents an “approved national service position” from being used to provide, among other services, “abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services”; and
  • an amendment by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to add foster care programs to the list of national service corps programs.

The Senate also voted, 56-41, to table, or kill, an amendment by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) “to clarify that nonprofit organizations assisted under the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program include certain crisis pregnancy centers, and organizations that serve battered women or victims of rape or incest.”

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