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42 Senators Sign the Peace Corps Funding Letter in support of increased funding for the Peace Corps

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez circulated the annual Dear Colleague Peace Corps Funding letter during the week of April 10th, supporting President Biden’s request of a 15 percent increase in Peace Corps funding. 42 Senators signed this year’s letter, one short of our record.

By Jonathan Pearson

 

On Monday, April 10, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, began circulating the annual Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague letter. This year’s letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations, urges support for President Biden’s request of $495 million for the Peace Corps — a 15 percent, $65 million increase in funding for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins this coming October.

 

“Upon the request of eager host countries where Peace Corps previously served and countries ready to launch new programs, the Peace Corps is thoughtfully returning to pre-pandemic volunteer levels.”

A Quick Turnaround

Facing an April 12th deadline, the Peace Corps community rallied over a 50-hour period, and helped secure the signatures of 42 Senators on this letter. That was one signature short of last year, when a record 43 Senators signed a similar letter. While the letter is now closed, you can still take action by thanking those Senators who signed the letter, and urging others to support strong funding for the Peace Corps going forward.

Take Action Now

 

Read the final Peace Corps funding letter or find the text of the letter (without the signatures) at the bottom of this post.

Read our talking points about supporting strong Peace Corps funding.

 


Who has signed the letter?

Here are the senators who signed this year’s Menendez Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter for Fiscal Year 2024.

 

DEADLINE to sign on: 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2023

SIGNATURES as of Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. 42 (THIS LETTER IS NOW CLOSED)

ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES that were needed to reach last year’s record: 1

 

Arizona: Kelly, Sinema

California: Feinstein, Padilla

Colorado: Bennet

Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

Delaware: Carper

Georgia: Ossoff

Hawai’i: Hirono, Schatz

Illinois: Duckworth

Maine: King

Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen

Massachusetts: Markey, Warren

Michigan: Peters, Stabenow

Minnesota: Klobuchar, Smith

Nevada: Cortez Masto, Rosen

New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

New Jersey: Booker, Menendez (author)

New Mexico: Lujan

New York: Gillibrand

Ohio: Brown

Oregon: Merkley, Wyden

Pennsylvania: Casey, Fetterman

Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

Vermont: Sanders, Welch

Virginia: Kaine, Warner

Washington: Cantwell

Wisconsin: Baldwin

 

(Last month, RPCV Congressman John Garamendi of California led efforts to issue a similar Dear Colleague letter, signed by 136 members of the House of Representatives. Learn more here

 

Here’s the text of the Senate Peace Corps funding letter.

Read it below — or download the PDF.

 

April 12, 2022

The Honorable Chris Coons, Chairman

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Lindsey Graham, Ranking Member

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Chairman Coons and Ranking Member Graham,

 

The United States gains immeasurably from the Peace Corps’ mission of international volunteer service. Since the Peace Corps’ inception 61 years ago, more than 240,000 Volunteers have served in 143 countries dedicating billions of hours to fostering peace and friendship around the globe. These ambassadors of goodwill to set the conditions for prosperity, self-reliance, and stability in postings around the world.

Strong and consistent bipartisan support has built the Peace Corps into the international face of American volunteerism. Continuing that tradition, we request that you support the President’s Budget request of $495 million for the Peace Corps for the Fiscal Year 2024. This continues the trajectory of funding increases that began in Fiscal Year 2023, following seven years of flat funding, which is necessary to meet new safety and security challenges as well as match historic levels of inflation.

The Peace Corps suspended global operations during the pandemic and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries. Upon the request of eager host countries where Peace Corps previously served and countries ready to launch new programs, the Peace Corps is thoughtfully returning to pre-pandemic volunteer levels.

The Peace Corps represents one of the most cost-effective ways to promote the United States abroad while providing tangible benefit and engagement for host communities, as well as providing valuable international experience for American Volunteers, many of whom will become leaders here at home. As the geopolitical stage continues to change, promoting the United States through the Peace Corps in regions such as the Indo-Pacific will help bolster United States national security interests, promote positive development outcomes, and tackle new and emerging challenges in a world forever changed by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thank you for considering our request and for your enduring support for the Peace Corps.

 


Jonathan Pearson is Director of Advocacy for National Peace Corps Association. Write him at [email protected].