Capitol Hill Update
By Jonathan Pearson on Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
As the first year of the 113th Congress begins to wind down, there’s been some further progress concerning Peace Corps related issues.
Peace Corps Director: Late last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of President Obama’s nominee of Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) to become the 19th Director of the Peace Corps. The nomination now heads to the full Senate for final consideration.
Peace Corps Commemorative: This Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee’s National Parks Subcommittee will hold a public hearing on H.R. 915, legislation that would authorize the use of space near the National Mall for a commemorative work to mark the lasting, historical significance of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961, and the ideals represented by Peace Corps service. RPCV Congressmen Joseph Kennedy III (Dominican Republic 2004-06) and Sam Farr (Colombia 1964-66) are scheduled to testify.
While there are signs of progress on those fronts, the same cannot yet be said for funding levels for the Peace Corps. Like other federal programs, work on the Peace Corps appropriation for the current fiscal year is currently in limbo, as a Senate/House conference committee is attempting to first reach agreement on a funding level and payment plan for the entire federal budget. Should no agreement be reached, passage of appropriations bills might not happen. That would result in Peace Corps receiving the same funding as last year or worse, if a second round of automatic cuts through “sequestration” takes hold. Additionally, no appropriations bills would preclude action on language – included in Senate recommendations – to provide the legislative fix proposed in the Peace Corps Equity Act, and to consider extending the time allowed for Non-Competitive Eligibility for federal employment for returning Peace Corps Volunteers.