The “Sequester” and the Peace Corps
By Jonathan Pearson on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
On the eve of our 9th Annual National Day of Action in Support of the Peace Corps, all the talk in Washington and the media is about the so-called “sequester” – $85 billion of automatic across-the-board cuts to most discretionary federal spending programs. If the Congress does not approve an alternative plan, the cuts are slated to take place on Friday.
So, you may be wondering, what does that mean for the Peace Corps?
$19 Million Cut: Like all other programs covered in the International Affairs portion of the federal budget, the Peace Corps would face a roughly five percent reduction in its budget. Coupled with previous cuts from earlier budget cutting, the sequester would mean an overall drop in Peace Corps funding of more than 11% since the high water funding mark of $400 million three years ago.
Fewer Volunteers: The Peace Corps reports the sequester would mean a further reduction of Volunteer opportunities by 200-300 a year. While the number of Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees had reached more than 9,000 in the last couple of years (a 40 year high), the additional reduction would drop Volunteers in the field to below 8,000 — a nearly 15% reduction.
Be A Voice for the Peace Corps: This Thursday and Friday, members of the Peace Corps community will be on Capitol Hill. We have nearly 150 meetings scheduled with congressional offices, and plan to visit every office to drop off materials urging support for a strong and vibrant Peace Corps, and to support our important international assistance programs.
You can add your voice! Starting Thursday morning, visit www.peacecorpsconnect.org/dayofaction/ for specific National Day of Action instructions by phone or by email. Your actions from home will bolster the work of your fellow RPCVs on Capitol Hill.
Please note if you call offices during the Day of Action you may run into some delays due to heavy volume. Be patient, make your voice heard, and THANKS!