A Big Day for Peace Corps on Capitol Hill
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
On Wednesday, Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams and the four RPCV members of Congress hosted an annual recruitment event at the Capitol Visitors Center.
That’s not the only positive Peace Corps news that is coming from Capitol Hill. There were significant legislative developments on three other fronts.
Peace Corps Funding:
On Wednesday the House Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations finalized work on its spending bill for Fiscal Year 2012. While regular discretionary funding within the bill is 18% lower than spending levels last year, the Subcommittee is recommending slightly more than $374 million for Peace Corps. That represents the current level of funding, although it is below the $400 million appropriation Peace Corps received during Fiscal Year 2010.
In her remarks, Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) spoke about the importance of the Peace Corps: “…this bill continues to support the Peace Corps. I want to thank Congressman Sam Farr for his commitment to the program. We cannot afford to fund the Corps at the Administration’s request but this subcommittee understands just how important this program is.”
There are still many steps in the process before a final funding level is determined. The next step will be consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee. Follow this link to take action today.
But wait…there’s more!
Peace Corps Commemorative:
With 129 co-sponsors, there is tremendous progress towards passing legislation in the House of Representatives to authorize a commemorative work near the National Mall to mark the lasting historic significance of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961, and the ideals that the Peace Corps represents.
Late Tuesday afternoon, similar legislation (S. 1421) was introduced in the United States Senate. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is the lead sponsor of the Peace Corps commemorative legislation. Joining Portman as an original co-sponsor is Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). Senators Portman and Udall serve on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee which will have jurisdiction over the legislation. Senator Udall Chairs the National Parks Subcommitee, which will consider the bill.
If you are a constituent of Senators Portman or Udall of Colorado, please send them a quick message thanking them for leading the effort in introducing Peace Corps commemorative legislation in the Senate.
And…that’s not all!
Puzey Bill Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Legislation to strengthen training and support of Peace Corps Volunteers who are subjected to violent crime – including and especially sexual assault – has moved forward in the United States Senate. On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave unanimous approval to the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA).