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America’s Service Commissions Applauds the Senate Homeland Security Committee for Passing the Unity Through Service Act with Bipartisan Support

Washington, DC (October 26, 2023) — On Wednesday, October 25, the Unity Through Service Act passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with an 11-1 vote, showing robust bipartisan support for the legislation. On behalf of our nation’s state and territorial service commissions, America’s Service Commissions (ASC) and its States for Service initiative thank Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Todd Young (R-IN) for introducing the bill, Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) for holding a committee markup and supporting the bill’s passage, and all those who voted to pass the bill through committee, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Margaret Hassan (D-NH), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rick Scott (R-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and by proxy Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

ASC continues to strongly support the bipartisan Unity Through Service Act (S.2150), and we look forward to working with the full Senate to advance the legislation. At a time when Americans are searching for meaningful ways to strengthen our country and their communities, the Unity Through Service Act will help expand those opportunities and increase engagement in military, national, and public service. 

The Unity Through Service Act would establish an Interagency Council on Service comprised of members representing our armed services along with domestic service agencies. The council will advise the President on promoting and strengthening service opportunities; coordinate partnerships, shared goals, and best practices of military, national, and public service; and lead a strategic, coordinated approach to boost engagement and expand benefits for our communities and service members. The bill also enables the Secretary of Defense, the Corporation for National and Community Service (operating as AmeriCorps), and the Peace Corps to carry out joint research to improve recruitment strategies and requires the council to submit a report to Congress detailing how they are better utilizing military, national, and public service resources.

“National service enables Americans to address critical issues in our communities and instills a service ethos in those that serve. We look forward to engaging with the new Interagency Council on Service to advise the President on ways that national, military, and public service partners can work together to promote and expand opportunities to serve our country and improve on the service experience,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “Importantly, the Council would also manage and develop new interagency partnerships to address national challenges and help support the transition between branches of service and into careers. We urge Congress to advance this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.”

The bipartisan Unity Through Service Act would enable service programs to utilize taxpayer resources more effectively by ensuring different branches of the military, national, and public service are working in coordination to make America stronger. Through increased coordination, service organizations would expand the range of service opportunities and build partnerships between government agencies and external stakeholders that are also supporting military, national, and public service in the states. Importantly the bill will also help service members transition into jobs and career pathways after and in between service positions.

Volunteer and military recruitment have faced challenges recently, and while recruitment is on an upward trajectory, additional strategies and a dedicated effort are needed to engage more Americans in these opportunities to serve our country and communities. The Unity Through Service Act aims to address these challenges.


About States for Service
States for Service is the privately funded, grassroots policy arm of America’s Service Commissions, the nonprofit association of the 52 state service commissions. The States for Service coalition works to reinforce the critical role state service commissions play in developing and advancing service in states to meet community and state needs. States for Service aims to influence policy, grant, and regulatory issues related to state service commissions, AmeriCorps State programs, and other state service programs such as AmeriCorps Seniors, AmeriCorps VISTA, and the Volunteer Generation Fund.

About America's Service Commissions
America's Service Commissions is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing and promoting the 52 state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. State service commissions are governor-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,000 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation's service movement and administering more than 75 percent of the federal AmeriCorps funds to address pressing community needs.