Kennedy Crafts Proposal for Paid National Service 'Army'

Bill would recruit 175,000 workers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2008 2:55 AM CDT
Sen.Ted Kennedy listens during to a hearing on breast cancer in Washington earlier this year.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – Sen. Ted Kennedy has crafted a sweeping national service bill, to be introduced today, that would recruit 175,000 citizens of all ages to work in health, education, environmental protection and anti-poverty programs—with their pay partially subsidized by the government. The plan would provide $5 billion over five years to encourage citizens to work in community organizations—including faith-based groups—on programs aimed at solving national problems.

The bill, which seeks to reconcile opposing Democrat and Republican approaches to national service, builds on initiatives brought in by JFK, and expanded by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Kennedy has been sidelined from the Senate while he undergoes treatment for a brain tumor, but associates say he is working as hard as ever from his Massachusetts home.