As the 112th Congress begins a new session, Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) introduced the Volunteer Freedom Act, a bill to end wasteful federal programs and save taxpayers over $10 billion. The legislation eliminates the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) while embracing the American tradition of real volunteerism.
"Hoosiers expect Washington to set realistic priorities and cut the national debt with common sense solutions," said Stutzman. "My bill is based on a simple truth: it's not volunteering if it comes with a paycheck. The Volunteer Freedom Act saves taxpayers billions of dollars by ending programs that cut checks to volunteers. It does nothing to discourage the millions of Americans who work for their communities and not for pay. Like so many projects cooked up by Washington's bureaucracy, the CNCS is unnecessary and expensive. Last year alone, the program cost taxpayers over a billion dollars. It doesn't make sense. Americans volunteer because we believe in better communities, stronger families, and personal commitments. Volunteering isn't something we do for our bottom line."
CNCS was funded at $1.075 billion in FY2011 and is estimated to cost taxpayers over $11.5 billion over the next ten years. According to the Census Bureau, 26% of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered in 2010. However, only 8% of American volunteers worked through CNCS. To ensure a responsible transition, the Volunteer Freedom Act affords current enrollees a year to finish their terms and receive final compensation.
The legislation is part of House Republican's YouCut initiative, which was designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. Americans voted on which spending cuts they wanted to see the House pass. Mr. Stutzman introduced the Freedom to Volunteer Act this month, after Americans voted to eliminate the CNCS.