House approves Titus amendment to increase ranks of volunteers

WASHINGTON — The House approved an amendment by Rep. Dina Titus today to increase the ranks of community service volunteers.

A Titus plan to create a federal "reserve corps" was added to a bill that expands volunteerism opportunities. The vote was 339-93.

The National Service Reserve Corps would be made up of alumni from AmeriCorps and the Senior Corps, networks of programs whose members tutor, build affordable housing, clean parks and perform other services through local nonprofit groups.

More than a half-million people have served through the programs. Alumni who sign up for the reserve corps could be called upon as shock troops in big emergencies like the Hurricane Katrina, said Titus, D-Nev.

"I just think it makes no sense to train people and then let them go especially when they want to stay committed," Titus said. "It is kind of a two-fer. It keeps people involved and takes advantage of their expertise."

in Nevada more 2,000 AmeriCorps members have served in 15 different programs and provided 2.5 million hours of service, while recruiting thousands of other community volunteers, Titus said.

The House was moving toward final passage of the overall volunteerism bill, which authorizes about $5 billion over five years to expand community service opportunities.