Service Corps Faces Problems in Congress

Although Democratic Congressional leaders are confident that a bill establishing a National Service Corps will pass this year, they may face problems of timing and tactics in introducing the measure.

Members of the House Committee on Education and Labor, which must act on the bill, told the CRIMSON they felt it would be a mistake to try to force action on the "domestic peace corps" proposal right away.

They expressed fear that the bill might become confused with Sen. Hubert Humphrey's controversial plan for a Youth Conservation Corps to provide work for unemployed young men. Humphrey's bill died in the House Rules Committee last year.

"It would probably be best to wait until the YCC bill is voted on before taking up this new plan," one committee member said.

"Any new idea draws a lot of opposition just because it's new; the original Peace Corps bill would not have passed except for Sargent Shriver's lobbying. The administration can't afford to arouse any unnecessary confusion or resentment," he said.


Members of Senator Humphrey's staff said that the two bills would be kept separate, and were optimistic about both. House and Senate leaders have predicted passage for the National Service Corps plan, although several conservative Congressmen have announced their opposition.

If the President feels Congress is acting too slowly he might choose to set up the entire domestic corps by executive order and to provide it with money from his contingency fund. But Congress ultimately must pass enabling legislation and annual appropriations for the corps.

President Kennedy praised the project in his State of the Union address Monday. He called for volunteers to serve "in mental hospitals, on Indian reservations, in centers for the aged and for young delinquents, (and) in schools for the illiterate and the handicapped."

A Presidential task force commission last week recommended appropriating $8,000,000 to set up a corps of 200 to 500 volunteers. Ultimately the corps members might number about 5,000