CHARLOTTE, NC– As Congress works together to combat the threat posed by COVID-19, we urge that any legislation include provisions that support healthcare workers who are on the front lines and to allow more volunteers to serve their communities in crisis. Experts note that our healthcare system will be stressed to the maximum level, so it is especially important to establish a Public Health Ready Reserve Corps now and make sure volunteer health care professionals have liability protection. Additionally, during times of crisis, volunteers are critical to our nation’s continued prosperity and security. National service groups and their members will play a vital role in both our nation’s response to this crisis and in rebuilding our nation in the months to come.
“We know that Congress can work across the aisle to provide impactful relief during this global crisis,” said Rye Barcott, With Honor Action Co-Founder and CEO. “These provisions will help support and defend those serving on the front lines and those who have committed to serving our nation so that all Americans can be safe.”
Specifically, With Honor Action urges inclusion in COVID-19 legislation nine key provisions to bolster our nation’s response to and address disruptions caused by the crisis. They are:
· Establish a Public Health Ready Reserve Corps to ensure we have enough trained doctors and nurses;
· Protect volunteer health care professionals from liability;
· Provide the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with emergency funding so that our national service programs and their members can serve effectively now and during our recovery;
· Provide CNCS with a waiver to allow AmeriCorps members to earn the full value of their Segal AmeriCorps Education Award if COVID-19 prevented them from fulfilling their service hour requirements;
· Waive AmeriCorps and Senior Corps match (both during this pandemic and through the response to it) and allow grantees to fully utilize their federal awards as they deal with economic impacts;
· Provide CNCS with the authority to carryover unexpended FY20 appropriated dollars and apply these resources to CNCS’s FY21 COVID-19 recovery efforts;
· Allow Fixed Amount Grant recipients to access their full federal funding if AmeriCorps members arenot able to serve their target number of hours due to COVID-19;
· Override CNCS regulations that cap the number of hours AmeriCorps members can spend in education, training and fundraising to support service activities; and
· Allow CNCS to extend the term of service and increase the upper age limit to 26 years old for AmeriCorps NCCC members whose service was disrupted.
With Honor Action is a cross-partisan movement focused on supporting military veterans who want to work across the aisle and put principles before politics while serving again in Congress. With Honor Action’s advisory board includes post-9/11 veterans and Gold Star family members — Chris Howard, Ryan Manion, and Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg — as well as prominent American leaders such as Secretary George Shultz, Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Michael Mullen, Michèle Flournoy, and David Gergen.
With Honor Action is a 501(c)(4), which serves as the organization’s policy and social-welfare arm. With Honor has an affiliated federally registered “super PAC” called With Honor Fund.