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Cole Calls on CNCS CEO to Terminate HealthCorps Grant Funding

April 26, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, sent a letter to Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in response to troubling findings related to an investigation by the CNCS Office of Inspector General (OIG). The CNCS OIG report was released today. CNCS oversees AmeriCorps programs that operate under federal grants.

The report reveals that the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), which received a grant through the AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps program, trained AmeriCorps members to act as “doulas” during abortion procedures at three community health center sites in New York and did not consult with the CNCS on this matter for two years. Allowing AmeriCorps participants to participate in such activity is prohibited by the Serve America Act. In response, Cole called on Spencer to immediately terminate and not renew HealthCorps grants to the NACHC and also initiate an investigation into all grantees and sub-grantees of AmeriCorps programs to ensure no other violations exist. 

Cole also sent a letter to the HHS Office of Inspector General requesting an investigation to ensure that community health centers are abiding by federal restrictions on funding for abortion procedures. 
 
“I am outraged by the terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars under the direction of the National Association of Community Health Centers,” said Cole. “While participating in the Community HealthCorps program, it is absolutely unacceptable that AmeriCorps members were wrongfully instructed and encouraged to assist in abortion-related procedures and services at community health centers. Such activity is expressly prohibited by federal law. Abortion-related procedures should never be funded by taxpayers. Given these disturbing developments, I believe this grantee should be immediately terminated from the HealthCorps program.” 
 
A copy of the letter sent to CNCS is available here, and the letter to HHS is here.

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