Congressman Panetta Introduces Comprehensive Legislation to Increase and Support Public Service

May 5, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) introduced the Inspire to Serve Act, H.R. 3000.  The bipartisan Inspire to Serve Act is comprehensive legislation to implement the recommendations of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (Commission) and advance America’s core principles of service, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

The FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established and charged the Commission to conduct a review of the military selective service process and consider methods to increase participation in military, national, and public service to address national security and other public service needs of the United States.  The Inspire to Serve Act would implement the Commission’s recommendations.

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), Mike Waltz (R-FL-06), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Jason Crow (D-CO-06), Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), and Kai Kahele (D-HI-02).

“Public service allows us to further the ideals of our democracy and experience and grow from our diversity.  Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know about or have access to the many ways in which we can give back to our community and country,” said Congressman Panetta. “The Inspire to Serve Act would connect those who desire to give back with the resources of the federal government and help ensure local and national resilience and preparedness.  As demonstrated in the outstanding report by the Commission, this bill would strengthen the foundation of our society by furthering the opportunities to serve and sustain the health, security, and unity of our country.”

“Throughout history, Americans, no matter their background, have come together in times of crisis to defend our nation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, and to tackle some of our nation’s most pressing issues like food insecurity, health services, and access to education,” said Rep. Bacon.  “Through voluntary national and public service, the Inspire to Serve Act encourages all Americans to tackle these issues together and in a patriotic, bipartisan way.  I thank my co-leads for their efforts, and I look forward to providing more opportunities for our citizens to serve our great nation.”

“I have had the profound privilege of serving my country as an engineer in the Air Force, a teacher with TFA and now a member of Congress,” said Rep. Houlahan. “Each of these experiences have been profoundly formative to my worldview, my patriotism and my empathy for my fellow Americans.  I have spoken with so many Pennsylvanians who have the desire to serve, but either lack the knowledge, resources or access to do so.  Our bipartisan Inspire to Serve Act would help bridge the gap between service opportunities and the countless Americans who want to serve their country.”

“In order to fight and win our nation’s battles, particularly in an age of new and emerging threats, it is critical that we draw on America’s best by attracting and retaining diverse talent, and removing barriers that dissuade our country’s top talent from pursuing national service” said Rep. Seth Moulton.  “We need to invest in a more inclusive and diverse workforce to meet our nation’s challenges.  Let’s pass The Inspire to Serve Act.” 

"My service in the Marine Corps, in local government, and now in Congress has given me a chance to give back to our country, which has provided me with such extraordinary opportunities.  This bipartisan legislation encourages Americans from all walks of life to contribute to the betterment of our country through voluntary national and public service," said Rep. Carbajal.  "The Inspire to Serve Act leverages our greatest resource, the American people, to enhance our national security and strengthen our society. As we face the challenges before us today and the challenges that lie ahead, it is imperative we give those seeking to serve more opportunities to do so."

“I originally enlisted in the National Guard to help pay for college, but I found this service to be so rewarding that I eventually became an Army Ranger and served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Congressman Jason Crow.  “My service to this country shaped me into the person I am today.  As we recover from the public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, expanding national service will put thousands of young people to work, mobilize civic engagement, and address urgent needs in underserved communities. 

“During times of crisis – whether it be World War II, the Great Depression, or the COVID-19 pandemic – America’s resilience depends on the hard work and sacrifices of its public servants,” said Rep. Phillips.  “Now more than ever, we must meet the moment and invest in a diverse corps of talented Americans who want to give back to their country.  The Inspire to Serve Act would breathe new life into our national and public service programs and make the United States stronger and more secure for generations to come.

“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Inspire to Serve Act and have always been a strong advocate of tuition assistance in exchange for national service,” said Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02).  “The Hawaiʻi Air National Guard has played a pivotal role in my career which has opened the path to so many great educational and leadership opportunities.  I hope that young people in Hawaiʻi and across the nation will consider dedicating time to service in exchange for potentially life-changing educational and professional experiences.”  

“The Inspire to Serve Act includes a series of bold actions designed to encourage and provide greater opportunities for Americans to enter public service and help our nation meet its many challenges. The Partnership for Public Service applauds Rep. Jimmy Panetta and the For Country Caucus for re-introducing this important bill, which would implement the recommendations made last year by the bipartisan National Commission on Military, National and Public Service. Congress should move quickly on these common-sense proposals,” said Partnership for Public Service President and CEO Max Stier.

The Inspire to Serve Act would:

  • Promote civic education and public awareness of all forms of service.
  • Advance military, national, and public service through a series of improved personnel practices, structures, grant programs, fellowships, demonstration projects, resource allocations, and benefit programs.
  • Streamline and modernize outdated processes to make service more accessible.
  • Strengthen mobilization for any future public health crisis, natural disaster, or other national emergency.
  • Ensure a more inclusive and diverse national security workforce by requiring both men and women to register with the Selective Service System in accordance with the statute.