Obama wins bipartisan support in often divided U.S. House
WASHINGTON – Democratic President Barack Obama finally won broad bipartisan support on Wednesday in the often bitterly divided U.S. House of Representatives. All it took was a call for Americans to help each other — and the memory of Sept. 11.
On a 321-105 vote, the House passed and sent on to the Senate an Obama-backed bill that seeks to expand volunteerism.
The proposed GIVE Act — Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education — would also urge Americans to recognize Sept. 11 as a national day of service as well as remembrance.
“Establishing 9/11 as a national day of service would ensure that the lives of those lost are forever remembered,” said David Paine of MyGoodDeed.org, a nonprofit created by family members of 9/11 victims.
House Republicans have opposed a number of the president’s initiatives including his $787 billion stimulus package, but many rallied in support of this one.
The measure comes in response to Obama’s call to Congress last month to pass a bill that will provide Americans with more chances to serve their communities.
The House-passed bill would create volunteer opportunities for Americans ranging from school children and retirees to military veterans.
“President Obama has renewed the spirit of a practice in our country that is as old as the union itself — the call to public service,” said Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy, sponsor of the bill.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Obama gives his primetime address to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in February)