“[W]e know that this is going to be used for political
purposes, that these so-called volunteers are going
to be involved with political activity, and things that...
would not be supported with normal charitable giving.”
—Senator Jim DeMint, speaking with ALG News.
Sen. DeMint Blasts National Service Bill, Calls on American People to “Show Their Alarm”
March 26th, 2009- Fairfax, VA—Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) yesterday blasted the $5.7 billion national service legislation that passed the Senate yesterday, saying that “we know that this is going to be used for political purposes, that these so-called volunteers are going to be involved with political activity, and things that... would not be supported with normal charitable giving.”
The GIVE Act, HR 1388, will expand national service programs from 75,000 to 250,000.
The bill passed the Senate yesterday 79-19 without DeMint's amendment that would have, according to the Senator, “prohibited these funds from going to ACORN, groups that have been clearly political and ideological, that have been organizing the communities for political purposes, and groups that are associated with them.”
“Unfortunately, our Democrat colleagues were able to kill that bill, which shows their true intent,” DeMint added.
The legislation as passed by the House of Representatives did include the prohibition because of an amendment proposed by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), which passed overwhelmingly, 318-105.
The Senate stripped it out with an amendment by Senator Barbara Mikulski. DeMint's amendment would have reinserted the prohibition, and was ultimately introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA), but was defeated 53-43.
The bill now proceeds back to the House, where the body is expected to accept the Senate amendments next week despite its overwhelming vote in favor of the prohibitions.
Sen. DeMint believes the overall legislation is unnecessary, saying that “volunteerism and our civil society is what works in America, it's everything the government is not, it's small, it's accountable and it's personal.”
“The government is the opposite from that,” DeMint added.
DeMint believes that now is not the time for government to hire 250,000 people “supposedly as volunteers,” saying the idea “is unimaginable at a time when we have such a difficult economy and we are borrowing and spending so much.”
DeMint believes without his amendment prohibiting lobbyists, for-profits, political organizations and labor groups from participating in the national service program, dollars going to these organizations will wind up in political coffers.
DeMint predicted that “a lot of the money will be funneled to left wing liberal organizations.” He pointed out that the money “will not go to a number of established charities that are faith based,” citing discrimination, but said they do not need it. “[A] lot of giving, volunteer activity in this country is motivated by religious beliefs and now that we get the government involved with that, they completely purge that motivation.”
When asked what Americans can do, DeMint responded, “I'm afraid all we can do now is make it clear, to Senators and Congressman that we have had enough.”
DeMint still sees hope, saying, “I'm encouraged by some of the peaceful demonstrations we are seeing from Boston Tea Parties and other things. People are going to have to show their alarm and their outrage in ways we haven't done in America in years, because Washington is ignoring their constituents. We're ignoring the people who sent us here, and we're saying one thing and doing another.”
DeMint concluded, stating that with the National Service Act, President Obama “is going a completely different way towards more and more government intervention into our culture as well as our economy.”
To watch the entire ALG News Video Interview, click here: