March 20, 2023

Duckworth Joins Reed, Larson in Push for ACTION to Increase Service Opportunities Act & Helping Students Reduce Their Debt

ACTION for National Service Act would enhance access to national and community service opportunities, lower student debt, create a more engaged citizenry and address national priorities


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and U.S. Representative John B. Larson (D-CT-01) reintroduced the America’s Call to Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act to help expand and promote opportunities for national service. This bicameral legislation would enhance access to national and community service opportunities, lower student debt, create a more engaged citizenry and address national priorities in education, infrastructure, healthcare, disaster relief and poverty. 

“Expanding national service opportunities for young Americans is vital to the strength of our local communities and our entire nation,” said Duckworth. “Just as enlisting in our military to defend our country is ‘American Service,’ so is delivering water filters to communities afflicted by lead-contaminated water, picking up a dry-erase marker to teach children or a hammer to rebuild homes for those devastated by natural disasters. I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to make sure every young American has the opportunity to serve their country and get help paying for college.”

“Expanding opportunities for national service will help more young people answer the call to serve, whether in defense of our nation abroad or strengthening our communities at home.  This bill will grow our capacity to enlist, equip, and empower young people to address pressing challenges and give back to our nation while they earn money toward their education.  It will build new partnerships for service, increase volunteerism, and strengthen our nation,” said Reed.

“I am proud to reintroduce ACTION for National Service today alongside Senator Reed, to honor the legacy of President Kennedy’s commitment to public service. Americans want to serve their country, and providing an educational benefit for two full terms of service will help ease mounting student debt and make college more affordable. I’m proud this legislation addresses two of our nation’s biggest concerns: the rising cost of higher education and climate change by empowering young people to better serve their community and create opportunity for themselves,” said Larson. 

America’s Call to Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act would achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce the burden of student loan debt by ensuring young people who serve two full terms of service are rewarded with an educational benefit equal to four years of average in-state tuition.
  • Ensure that educational benefits are exempt from federal taxes.
  • Create a Civilian Climate Corps to help communities equitably fight and adapt to climate change.
  • Support at least one million full-time federal service positions a year—providing all who wish to serve the opportunity to do so.
  • Increase access to national service opportunities by raising AmeriCorps living stipend amounts.
  • Create a 21st Century American Service Outreach Program to notify eligible individuals about opportunities to serve.
  • Advance national and community service as a civic and national priority by elevating the Corporation of National & Community Service (CNCS) to a new Cabinet-level agency.

From supporting breast milk donation organizations, to annually joining City Year for MLK Day of Service, to announcing federal support for volunteer programs throughout Illinois and more, Duckworth is a champion for civilian service. Last Congress, the Senator helped introduce the America’s Call To Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION) for National Service Act which builds on her 21st Century American Service Act.

Along with Duckworth, cosponsors in the Senate include U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives include: Andy Kim (D-NJ-03), Stephen Lynch (D-MA-08), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), Sean Casten (D-IL-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), Judy Chu (D-CA-28), Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-14), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05),  John Garamendi (D-CA-08), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Ann Kuster (D-NH-02), John Sarbanes (D-MD-03), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Jim McGovern (D-MA-02).

The ACTION for National Service Act is supported by more than 40 endorsing organizations, including Voices for National Service, Habitat for Humanity International, YouthBuild USA, City Year and With Honor Action.