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[Note: Some of the links to the government web page change regularly, or are randomized or something and may not work. If they don’t work, you can go to this page, select which congress you are searching [the current congress is the 110th] and enter “universal national service act” into the search box to find the information I have referenced. This bill was introduced in the 109th and 108th congresses as well.]

It has been suggested that I blog on a happy thing on Fridays, or at least once a week.

Here is something happy.

Nancy Pelosi is opposed to a bill that would reinstate the draft.

This idea was introduced in 2003 as HR163. It had 14 co-sponsors, introduced by Charles Rangel. It was killed by a roll-call vote of 402-2. It was called the “Universal National Service Act of 2003”, with required service for two years, no declaration of war necessary. [HA-HA!!!! Get it?? REQUIRED SERVICE!!!! Orwellian language just kills me!] It included all people, men and women included aged 18-26.

It also had a companion bill in the Senate. S89 had no co-sponsors and the bill died in committee.

In 2004, Mr. Rangel gave the bill a well-deserved rest. Presumably because it was an election year and he didn’t want to draw any more bad press than was necessary. Well, that and the prior defeat by a roll call vote of 402-2.

The Universal National Service Act of 2005 (HR 2723) had one co-sponsor, was introduced on 5/26/2005 and died in committee. [Killed on the same day it was introduced!] It only required 15 months of service this time, was gender neutral, no declaration of war, could be military or civilian service, and was for 18-26 year olds.

After such a successful campaign to compel 18-26 year olds into national “service” of some kind, Mr. Rangel was feeling romantic I guess. As a gift of love to the nation, on St. Valentine’s Day in 2006, [with no co-sponsors!] Mr. Rangel introduced the Universal National Service Act of 2006. It was referred to committee nine days later, never to return. It returned to a two-year requirement of service and this time reached out to offend an even broader audience because it would require service from all 18-42 year olds.

On January 10, 2007 Mr. Rangel again picked up the fight without co-sponsors or the support of the Speaker of the House and introduced the Universal National Service Act of 2007, HR393. The current status is that it has been referred to two committees where one of them will probably kill it again (if past performance of this bill is any indicator of future performance of this bill). The new provisions still require service from 18-42 year olds, in either a civilian or military capacity, but now only if there is a declaration of war, or if the Executive Branch just feels like it. While on its’ face not being a universal requirement of service regardless of armed conflict, the conditions to activate the provisions of the bill are so simple to satisfy that there really is not protections in the new bill at all.

While the current and prior bills refer to “Service”, it is not really service because people even when drafted still get paid. Paying the draftees would keep the bill from running afoul of the 13th Amendment eliminating “involuntary servitude” although it would be an interesting court challenge.

This bill will probably die in committee too.

Happy Friday!

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