August Peace Corps Advocacy on the Homefront
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, July 30th, 2010
As Congress prepares to leave Washington for its summer recess, now is a moment where you have the potential to weigh in directly with your lawmakers on Peace Corps funding for Fiscal Year 2011. Recent developments on Capitol Hill will also make your advocacy timely.
First, the Key Facts:
- President Obama requested $446 million for the Peace Corps in his Fiscal Year 2011 budget, an 11.5% increase that will allow for the continued improvement and expansion of the Peace Corps.
- The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations voted on June 30th to support the President’s Peace Corps request.
- On July 29th, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $420 million for the Peace Corps – a five percent increase in funding but $26 million below the President’s request and the current House recommendation.
So, What’s Next?
The Senate and House still have more work to do on their individual appropriations bills. And while the timing and type of future activity is uncertain, the one thing that is certain is that both bodies will eventually have to agree on a final funding figure for Peace Corps.
Take Action From Home:
Many lawmakers will be back in your home state (or congressional district) during the summer recess. Seek them out and voice your support for the President’s Peace Corps request. Attend a town hall meeting, seek a meeting at your lawmaker’s district office, seek out your lawmaker at a public event, invite him/her to an RPCV group event, write a letter-to-the-editor in your local newspaper. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need assistance in carrying out any of the above activities.
Key Message for Members of the House of Representatives:
- Make note of how pleased you are that the House of Representatives appears to be moving toward supporting the President’s Peace Corps funding request of $446 million dollars.
- In your own words, describe why you believe it is critically important to support a funding level for Peace Corps that will allow it to continue to improve and expand.
- Seek the assurance of your Representative that they will oppose any efforts that might arise in the House to reduce the President’s Peace Corps funding request.
- Finally, if your Representative is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, thank your Rep for the Committee’s leadership on Peace Corps funding and leave this message: “When the time comes to reconcile the Peace Corps funding figure with the Senate, I urge you to uphold the President’s request of $446 million for the Peace Corps.”
Key Message for Members of the Senate:
- Politely express your disappointment in learning that the Senate Appropriations Committee did not follow the lead in the House of Representatives, and only recommended $420 million for the Peace Corps, not the $446 million requested by the President.
- In your own words, describe why you believe it is critically important to support a funding level for the Peace Corps that will allow it to continue to improve and expand.
- Tell your Senators you support the President’s Peace Corps funding request, and ask if they will assist with efforts to bring the Senate Peace Corps recommendation up to the President’s request. (If they say yes, please let us know!)
- Finally, if your Senator is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, please leave this message: “When the time comes for the Senate and House to reconcile their difference on Peace Corps funding, please accede to the House figure of $446 million and support the President’s Peace Corps funding request.”