Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Compassionate Conservatism in Action

To put this in perspective, fully funding 75,000 AmeriCorps participants for a year would cost less than what we spend in 2 weeks in Iraq. And no one dies. Use some political capital, Shrubya, or forever shut-up about how compassionate you are. But you like this better. You get credit for "supporting" a program when you really don't give a damn.

AmeriCorps Speaks Out For Cash

(CBS/AP) Supporters of AmeriCorps, the federal program that provides stipends and scholarships to mostly young people in exchange for community service, began a 100-hour speech-a-thon Tuesday in an effort to win more funding.

"I want to serve, I'm ready to serve," said Juan Perez, 20, a Garden City, Kan., volunteer who works from a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy. He also won't be able to spend another year tutoring Spanish-speaking children unless Congress increases the program's funding.

The rally, which began in a Senate office building and was to run around-the-clock through Saturday afternoon, will feature more than 600 speakers - lawmakers, AmeriCorps alumni, university professors and representatives from nonprofit organizations.

Along with more money to rescue hundreds of foundering local programs this year, supporters want Congress to meet President Bush's 2004 proposal to more than double membership.

Bush's 2004 request of $444 million would fund 75,000 members.

About 30,000 volunteers were enrolled this year, down from 67,000 last year. The House voted in July to provide only $355 million next year - still above current levels - while House Republican leaders rejected a Senate effort to add $100 million to the program this year.

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