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SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR
FISCAL YEAR 1978
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR AND HEALTH,
EDUCATION, AND WELFARE AND RELATED AGENCIES
DANIEL J. FLOOD, Pennsylvania, Chairman WILLIAM H. NATCHER, Kentucky
ROBERT H. MICHEL, Illinois NEAL SMITH, Iowa
SILVIO O. CONTE, Massachusetts
GEORGE M. O'BRIEN, Illinois
HENRY A. NEIL, Jr., FREDERICK F. PFLUGER, ROBERT L. KNISELY, NICHOLAS G.
CAVAROCCHI, MICHAEL A. STEPHENS, BETTILOU TAYLOR, Staj A88istants
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1978.
MR. SAM BROWN, DIRECTOR
Mr. Flood. Now we go to the supplementals for 1978. Our first account is for the domestic programs of ACTION. I see you have a statement and biographical sketch we can submit for the record.
Mr. Brown. That will be fine, Mr. Chairman. [The information referred to follows:]
STATEMENT OF SAM BROWN, DIRECTOR, ACTION
I am pleased to appear before this Subcommittee again to talk about our fiscal year 1978 supplemental request for VISTA.
We are requesting a supplemental appropriation for VISTA in the amount of $1.4 million to increase by $25 a month the end-of-service stipend received by volunteers and to provide a sufficient food and lodging allowance for volunteers.
This stipend, now $50 a month, has not been increased since 1965 and volunteers, as you know, are not eligible for unemployment compensation at the completion of their service. This change in stipend was authorized by Congress in November 1975, in Public Law 94-130. This allowance is an important factor in enabling VISTA volunteers to readjust upon completion of service. We are requesting $673,000 for this purpose.
Food and lodging allowances are also increased by about six per cent by this supplemental request. This allowance which is paid to volunteers as a monthly subsistence allowance, covers the basic necessities of volunteers' food and lodging. Recently inflation has made it necessary to increase this subsistence allowance. We estimate the cost of this increase to be $727,000.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF SAM BROWN Sam Brown, 34, former state treasurer of Colorado, was appointed director of ACTION, the federal volunteer service agency, by President Jimmy Carter in February, 1977.
Brown directs the activities of more than 269,000 volunteers serving throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, and in 64 developing countries abroad. ACTION programs include the Peace Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Foster Grandparent Program, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Companion Program and University Year for ACTION.
Brown, who was elected as Colorado treasurer in 1974, was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel W. Brown, Sr., still live today. His father is the owner and president of Brown's Shoe Fit Company.
After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Brown attended the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif., where he was graduated with honors in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in government.
In 1966, Brown received a master's degree in government from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He continued his studies for another year as a Rockefeller fellow at the Divinity School of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
In 1968, Brown served as the national volunteer coordinator of Eugene McCarthy's campaign for president, supervising the "children's crusade” in New Hampshire. Later that year, he served as statewide citizen's coordinator for Governor Harold Hughes' successful Senate campaign in Iowa.
In December, 1968, he was a consultant to the Peace Corps, traveling to India and Nepal. During the next six months, he was a fellow of the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.
Brown founded, coordinated and led the Vietnam Moratorium in Washington, D.C. in 1969.
The following year, he moved to Denver, Colo. In 1972, he was a prime organizer of the Citizens for Colorado's Future, a citizens group which successfully opposed the use of tax receipts for the 1976 winter Olympics.
He has been a member of the Board of the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, the Brookings Institution Study on the Presidency and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation. He also was a founding board member of the Council on Economic Priorities, an economic research organization.
Brown is the author of the book “Storefront Organizing,” published by Pyramid Press in 1972, and co-editor of "Why Are We Still in Vietnam?” published by Random House in 1970. He has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles.
Brown was born on July 27, 1943.
Mr. Flood. Your 1978 supplemental request is for $1.4 million for VISTA allowances and stipends. Suppose you describe for us all of these various allowances and stipends that the VISTA volunteers receive.
Mr. Brown. There are two fundamental pieces of that. The first is in fact called the volunteer stipend paid upon completion of service, $50 per month.
It has been at the level of $50 since 1965. Several years ago authorizing legislation was passed which would have raised that to $75 per month at termination of service, compared to Peace Corps, which is $125 per month. However, no appropriation was set aside for that.
Last year in the report from the conference committee on LaborHEW the conferees agreed there was a need to raise the stipend for VISTA and agreed to provide the necessary funding if the administration would come in and make the case for the specific increase. In the past the administration had opposed it. We are coming in to say we want that increase. That is $25 per month per volunteer.
Mr. Flood. What is the amount now?
Mr. FLOOD. What about fringe benefits; what benefits do they receive?
Mr. Brown. There is another major allowance, the food and lodging allowance. Then there are a number of traditional benefits provided to the volunteers, such as health insurance and workers compensation.
There is also FICA, and the settling-in allowance, which is a onetime expense that is paid to the volunteer after initial training—a lot of these people are quite poor and it is for pots and pans. They also get one week vacation per year.
Mr. Flood. What is it for a Peace Corps volunteers ?
Mr. Brown. The Peace Corps volunteer stipend is $125 per month. The setting-in allowance is about $250.
PURPOSE OF STIPEND
Mr. Flood. What is the main purpose of this monthly stipend?
Mr. Brown. At the conclusion of the VISTA volunteer's year of service, it gives them a little cushion so that they have some time to look for a job so they do not spend the last month doing that. They have been out of the job market and they are not entitled to unemployment compensation after their service. So, unlike most other people who end a job, they cannot go down and get unemployment. For 15 weeks they are not, generally speaking, permitted to take a CETA job.
ASSUMED ENACTMENT DATE
Mr. Flood. When you compiled this budget request, what assumptions did you make concerning the timing? What date of enactment did you assume?
Mr. Brown. May 1. We hope we are not presumpting the authority of the Congress by this assumption.
FREQUENCY OF VISTA PAYMENTS
Mr. Flood. How often are the VISTA people paid ?
Mr. BROWN. Every two weeks. We will come back to that with the authorizing committee because it was a substantial problem this fiscal year when we lacked the authority of a continuing resolution to pay the volunteers.
FOOD AND LODGING INCREASE
Mr. FLOOD. On that matter of the food and lodging allowance currently averaging $209 a month according to your justification, what would it be if this supplemental request were approved ?
Mr. Brown. It would go from $208 or 9 up to $220, an increase of $12.
Mr. Flood. Suppose for some reason Congress did not approve the request; would you have to absorb that $727,000 that you estimate for food and lodging ?
Mr. Brown. What would be required of us is to reduce volunteer entries this summer, since the food and lodging allowance, which is tied to the consumer price index, was put in effect early last November.
Mr. Flood. Do you have a further increase in the food and lodging allowance built into your '79 budget at the present?
Mr. Brown. No. No, we do not, and are not allowed to build in those cost-of-living inflators. We have to come back each time to request them.
Mr. Flood. Do you plan to budget for these allowance increases in the regular budget from now on, instead of coming here for a supplemental ?
Mr. BROWN. Yes.
PAY RAISE SUPPLEMENTAL
Mr. Flood. How much are you requesting for increased pay costs in '78?
Mr. Brown. Overall in the agency ? Mr. FLOOD. Yes. Mr. BROWN. $2,080,000. Mr. Flood. Did you absorb any of your increased pay costs in '78 ? Mr. MARKHAM. We were unable to do that. Mr. Flood. You can do this for the record. Give us an explanation of how you computed this pay cost supplemental.
[The information referred to follows:] To compute the cost of the pay raise for salaries, the planned salaries budgeted for 1978 which had been based upon the old pay schedule were increased by 7.05 percent. The budget had already included all salaries less a projected lapse rate. Salaries of higher graded personnel whose salaries would not exceed $47,500 were individually figured and removed from the total salary figure before computation of the increase was performed.
Benefits were figured by applying the standard benefit to salary ratio to the increase in salary cost and the result was multiplied by 0.7 in order to exclude benefits not based on changes in pay scale.
Mr. Flood. That is all we have.