Peace Corps Scheduled for $23m Funding Increase
By Jonathan Pearson on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
The Peace Corps is on the verge of receiving its first funding increase in four years.
The United States Congress took the final steps this week in approving a massive $1.1 trillion spending package that finalizes funding levels for all federal programs for the current fiscal year (Fiscal Year 2014) that began last October 1st.
Included in that package is $379 million for the Peace Corps.
The funding level for the Peace Corps represents a positive step forward. But, as with any compromise, the overall results included in the appropriations bill is yielding mixed results.
Positive Steps Forward:
- Increased Funding: $379 million is the FY 2014 funding level requested by President Obama, and represents the first increase in funding in four years.
- Sequester Restored: $379 million represents a 6.5 percent increase over current funding and would fully restore funds that were automatically cut by the across-the-board sequester of 2013. The funding level provides a very slight one percent increase above sequester-level funding.
- More Than Half-Way: In reaching agreement on the Peace Corps funding figure, Congress is providing 80 percent of the funding difference between the House recommendation ($356 million) and the Senate recommendation ($385 million).
- Continued Reforms and Improvements: Nearly a year ago when the Peace Corps submitted its budget request to Congress seeking nearly $379 million, the agency said the request would “allow the Peace Corps to continue its vital work at home and abroad and to build on the comprehensive reforms and improvements that the agency has put in place over the past four years.”
- Less than Senate: The funding level for Peace Corps falls slightly short of the Senate recommendation of $385 million for the current fiscal year.
- Below High-Water Mark: While moving back in a positive direction, funding for the Peace Corps would still remain roughly five percent below the $400 million in funding approved during Fiscal Year 2010.
- Senate Language on Support, Equity Removed: Agreement on funding levels for the Peace Corps did not extend to two language recommendations included in the Senate version of the appropriations bill. Language to implement the Peace Corps Equity Act was removed, meaning Peace Corps Volunteers continue to stand virtually alone among those serving our nation overseas in being denied support for pregnancy termination in the rare instances of rape, incest or life endangerment. The agreement also failed to advance language requesting further exploration of enhancing opportunities for non-competitive eligibility for returning Peace Corps Volunteers seeking federal jobs.
With final action winding down on appropriations for the current fiscal year, attention will quickly turn to Fiscal Year 2015, which would begin next October 1st.
President Obama will provide first outlines to his FY 2015 budget during his State of the Union address on January 28th. While the President’s budget is supposed to be introduced to Congress during the first Monday in February, there are some indications that President Obama will be late again.
Fiscal Year 2015 funding for the Peace Corps will be a central part of the National Peace Corps Association’s tenth annual National Day of Action, scheduled for February 27th.