Obama Budget Requests 1% More for Peace Corps
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, April 12th, 2013
President Obama this week submitted his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request to Congress.
The President is recommending $378 million for the Peace Corps. This recommendation would restore funding reductions recently implemented after the President and Congress failed to agree on a deficit reduction package, triggering automatic across-the-board cuts of approximately 5 percent. Peace Corps estimated close to $20 million in reductions due to the so-called “sequester” during the current fiscal year.
In his budget, the President would reportedly restore those funds, and increase Peace Corps funding by an additional $4 million for the Fiscal Year that would begin this coming October.
This somewhat positive trend is tempered by overall trends. The one percent spending increase recommended by the President comes after three consecutive years where funding has been static at $375 million, after reaching $400 million in Fiscal Year 2010. That stagnation is having an impact on Peace Corps presence. At the end of the 2012 Fiscal Year, Peace Corps reported nearly 8,100 volunteers serving in 76 countries. For the upcoming fiscal year, the agency is projecting Peace Corps presence in only 70 countries. Meanwhile, it estimates the total number of serving volunteers in the current fiscal year may fall below 7,000 for the first time in a decade (although it estimates numbers would recover to 7,300 under the President’s request).
Meanwhile, funding for the Peace Corps appears to have fared slightly better than the overall International Affairs Budget, which has reportedly seen a four percent decrease in the President’s request, when compared to two years ago.
In its budget justification to Congress, Peace Corps reports it has closed and will continue to close programs in several countries based on criteria established under its annual portfolio review (read recent announcement on closing of Suriname). designed to make more strategic decisions on volunteer placement. The agency also says further new country entries are under consideration for 2014.
Through its ongoing reform process, the agency highlights continued progress on a variety of fronts including volunteer safety and security, improved training through its Focus In/Train Up initiative, and continued strategic partnerships providing critical volunteer roles in through participation in the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Stomp Out Malaria effort in 24 nations across Africa and the President’s Feed the Future initiative in conjunction with the US Agency for International Development. Significant improvements in program monitoring and evaluation and implementation of a new online application system are also highlighted.
You can follow this link to read the Peace Corps Budget Justification to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014.
As the President’s budget was reaching Congress, the five RPCV members of the House of Representatives – led by Colombia RPCV Sam Farr (D-CA) were putting the final touches on a congressional letter to the key House Appropriations Subcommittee. The letter – which requests a return to $400 million for the Peace Corps ($22 million above the President’s request) – has collected a record number of signatures. Click here to see the latest.
Follow this link to read an analysis from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition of the President’s overall International Affairs Budget.