Clinton urges Congress to renew AmeriCorps service program
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) -- Saluting young Americans who serve in their communities, President Clinton on Wednesday called on Congress to reauthorize one of his pet projects -- the AmeriCorps national service program.
"You are changing America in profound ways," Clinton told hundreds of AmeriCorps members at a festive rally.
Clinton wants Congress to reauthorize the program for five years and also to boost funding for next year. The legislation has stalled in Congress as lawmakers wrangle over various spending bills.
So far, lawmakers have not allotted the program as much money for fiscal year 2001 as the president has requested. Clinton wants $533 million for the program in 2001, but the Senate has proposed $433 million, an administration aide told CNN.
Gesturing to the AmeriCorps members in front of him, Clinton told them that he hoped lawmakers would see them as they considered how much money to commit to the program.
"I want them to see your faces tonight," Clinton said. "I want them to hear your cheers tonight. I want them to know about your good deeds. I want them to see in your lives that AmeriCorps does get things done, and I want them to get something done and reauthorize this bill."
Modeled after the Peace Corps program, the Corporation for National Service awards its members with education awards that help cover college costs, job training or repayment of student loans. According to the White House, more than $400 million has been awarded in education awards to AmeriCorps members.
An estimated 200,000 volunteers have served in the program since it began in 1993, tutoring children, building homes, responding to natural disasters and serving their communities in other ways.