Senators Chris Coons (left) and Roger Wicker (right).
A bipartisan group of Senators is hoping to get a new bill passed that could have a big impact on how the United States continues to tackle COVID-19.
The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service Act (CORPS Act), which was first introduced to Congress on June 16th by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), is legislation that would significantly expand national service programs to help the country respond to and recover from the public health, economic, and social crises facing the nation in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Thousands of young people across the country are calling for greater opportunity and for new and meaningful engagement to address persistent inequities that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19,”Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said in a press release. “Now is the time to mobilize that energy to make our communities stronger and healthier for everyone.”
The bill would double the number of AmeriCorps positions available this year to 150,000 and provide a total of 600,000 service opportunities nationwide over the next three years to unemployed youth and others looking to assist their communities.
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that address critical community needs, including increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty and sustaining national parks, among other things.
These positions could support a variety of response and recovery efforts based on community needs, including expanding food pantry capacity, mentoring and tutoring at-risk students, bridging health inequities by expanding access to COVID-19 screening and testing, and more.
“As our nation strives to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that Americans are able to get back to dignified work,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said. “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that will help Americans, especially Americans facing unemployment, contribute to our recovery by serving our local communities, promoting public health, and promoting economic recovery both for themselves and their own families, and for the community and nation they serve.”
The bill has gained support from more than 150 organizations, including Habitat for Humanity International, Hunger Free America, National Health Corps, Service Year Alliance, FoodCorps, and The Corps Network. A full list of supportive organizations can be accessed here.
For a one-pager of the bill, click here.