Snap Fact #247
President Obama Signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to Support Volunteerism!
On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act at an elementary school in Washington, DC in order to encourage and increase more volunteers and volunteer programs throughout the United States. This has been especially important during this economic recovery where many Americans need help financially and physically. 

Specifically, five new service corps are established in order to recognize and support the needs of low-income communities. Besides, the act also emphasizes the use of technology in volunteer and volunteer programs in order to provide a fast access and information throughout the country. The bill reauthorized and expanded the AmeriCorps program that was first established in 1993.

In his remarks introducing the program, the President said, “A week from tomorrow marks the 100th day of my administration. In those next eight days, I ask every American to make an enduring commitment to serving your community and your country in whatever way you can. 
Visit WhiteHouse.gov to share your stories of service and success. And together, we will measure our progress not just in number of hours served or volunteers mobilized – but in the impact our efforts have on the life of this nation,” 

This Act is an example of how Washington can work during an era of cooperation, negotiation, and compromise – something that the Democratic 111th Congress had while the current 112th has been mired in obstructionism and ideologically driven dogmatism. 

The Act was introduced on March 9, 2009, by New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy. It passed in the House on March 18, 2009. The Senate debated and approved an amended version of the bill on March 26, 2009. In the process they renamed the bill the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, in honor of Senator Ted Kennedy. The House voted on the bill a second time, approving the amended version on March 31, 2009. The Bill was then signed by President Obama on April 21, 2009. How is that for getting something done? Unfortunately, this sort of action could not be achieved in the recent divisive 112th Congress.

Should we be fortunate enough to go into 2013 with a Democratic Congress and President Obama at the helm, the gridlock will disappear and the 113th Congress will have the ability to set the country back on our glorious path of prosperity and global leadership.