CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 2865 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 23, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority vote. Sen. Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 2865 on December 10, 2009. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the committee ordered the bill reported by voice vote on December 16, 2009. On March 17, 2010, the Senate passed S. 2865 by unanimous consent. On March 18, 2010, the bill was referred to the Education and Labor Committee in the House of Representatives.
S. 2865 reauthorizes the Congressional Award Program through October 1, 2013. Designed to promote initiative, achievement, and excellence among the youth of America, the program arranges for medals to be awarded to young Americans who have satisfied specified standards of achievement. Members of Congress sit on the board that administers the program and participate in the presentation of awards.
The Congressional Award Act, which created the Congressional Award Program, was enacted on November 16, 1979. Under the Congressional Award Program, young people between the ages of 14 and 23 earn awards by completing hours of effort in four areas of achievement--volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness, and xpedition/exploration. Depending on the number of hours completed, participants earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates or medals.
A 25-member Board administers the Congressional Award Program. Twenty-four of the members are appointed by Congressional leadership.
Congress has reauthorized the Congressional Award Act multiple times since the initial law, which funded the program for six years.
In 2009, more than 27,000 individuals and more than 2,000 adult mentors participated in the program.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that government in-kind services, including an annual Government Accounting Office audit and use of office space in the Ford Building, would cost less than $500,000 a year. In addition, CBO estimates reauthorizing the program would increase spending from the U.S. Mint Public Enterprise Fund by less than $500,000 a year. Therefore, the total cost of the reauthorization is less than $3 million.