February 14, 2011

Budget Plan Would Scale Back National Service Growth

President Obama has scaled back his plans to expand national-service programs in his 2012 budget, proposing less money for the Corporation for National and Community Service than he did last year. However, he wants to boost the Social Innovation Fund, a grants program to expand effective social projects that the agency operates, from $50-million to $70-million.

Mr. Obama, who presented his budget today for the fiscal year that begins next October, proposed increasing the national-service agency’s budget to $1.26-billion. While that’s up from 2010 spending of $1.15-billion, it’s less than the $1.4-billion he proposed last year. Congress has still not adopted a 2011 budget.

The budget report says his new request will allow AmeriCorps, the biggest national-service program, to grow to 90,000 members. Last year, the president said he was proposing enough money to expand the program to 105,000 members (up from 85,000).

While Mr. Obama is feeling less generous toward national service this year, he could nonetheless face a major battle with Republicans to secure the money his administration is seeking for national-service programs. The House Appropriations Committee unveiled legislation on Friday to cut the budget for the Corporation for National and Community Service by more than $1-billion this fiscal year. President Obama proposed increasing the Social Innovation Fund to $60-million this year.