Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke hopes to introduce a bill to Congress this year that would force all young people to spend at least a year “in service to this country.”
Beto obviously did not get the memo that one of the strengths of the US military is that it is voluntary. In recent decades, the trend among numerous countries has been to move from conscription to all-volunteer military forces.
O’Rourke is currently a Texas congressman and addressed his proposal at a town hall in Corsicana on Thursday. He is challenging Senator Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018. Late last year, O’Rourke officially threw his name into the hat for consideration for the U.S. Senate.
O’Rourke’s proposal would require “every young person,” regardless of their socioeconomic background, to serve their country in some way whether that be in military service, a medical unit, a teaching unit etc.
“One last idea on this — and I’m trying to find a republican colleague — I may have one and I hope to announce it soon — it will help me introduce this into the Congress this year, and that is a national service bill that would require every young person, no matter how wealthy or how poor, to spend at least a year of their lives in service to this country; in a military unit, conservation core unit, in a medical unit, in a teaching unit — in some way that they’re going to help make this country better and stronger and have to sacrifice together and leave that with a shared understanding of who we are as a people. And no kid is going to be rich enough to buy their way out of it.”
First it is important to note that statewide Democrats have a hard time breaking 40% in Texas….
So the chances of a ‘Senator O’Rourke’ are slim to none, but this is not the first time that some crazy had the idea to force every American into a year or two at the military.
But O’Rourke’s ideas are explored though in HR 3140, a bill introduced to the House in June that he as a congressman has cosponsored.
HR 3140, titled “ACTION for National Service Act,” would give those who complete a “term of full-time national service” an award “equal to twice the amount of tuition for the institution of higher education where the individual is enrolled, not to exceed twice the average in-state tuition.”
Those who complete the year of service will be eligible for “tuition and student loan repayment assistance” and “federal hiring preference to certain volunteer program participants,” according to a summary of the bill.
The resolution amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 to reestablish the Corporation for National and Community Service as an independent executive agency called the National and Community Service Administration.
An individual who successfully completes a term of full-time national service shall be entitled to a national service educational award equal to twice the amount of tuition for the institution of higher education where the individual is enrolled, not to exceed twice the average in-state tuition. Current law limits the award’s value to the maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant that an individual is eligible to receive in the aggregate.
Within the administration, the bill establishes an interagency working group to evaluate specified issues related to: (1) eligibility for tuition and student loan repayment assistance with regard to participation in certain national or volunteer service programs, (2) the advisability of granting federal hiring preference to certain volunteer program participants, and (3) methods for increasing the participation of seniors in national service programs.
The National Service Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established by the bill, shall accept and administer gifts made in connection with the administration.
The bill expresses support for the authorization of appropriations sufficient to provide, within 10 years, volunteer service opportunities for at least 1 million volunteers in full-time national service annually.
The bill also amends the Internal Revenue Code to exclude AmeriCorps educational awards from gross income.
From 1940 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the United States Armed Forces that could not be filled through voluntary means. The draft was ended when the United States Armed Forces moved to an all-volunteer military force.
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