The Peace Corps Commemorative
The Latest – Victory!!
- Commemorative Now Law! President Obama signed the Senate version of the commemorative legislation (S. 230) into law on Friday, January 24th. Congratulations to all who contributed to this victory!!
- Legislative Victory for Peace Corps Commemorative: On Monday January 13th, U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval to Peace Corps Commemorative legislation.
- House Committee Unanimously Approves Commemorative: On December 4th,2013, the House Natural Resources Committee gave unanimous approval to commemorative legislation.
- House Hearing Held on Legislation: On November 21, 2013, the eve of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, the House Natural Resources Public Lands Subcommittee held a key public hearing on Peace Corps commemorative legislation.
Facts and Talking Points:
Peace Corps commemorative legislation in the Senate (S. 230) was introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Udall (D-CO). It was unanimously approved on June 19, 2013.
Peace Corps commemorative legislation in the House was introduced by Massachusetts RPCV Congressman Joseph Kennedy III (Dominican Republic 2004-06). He was joined by the other four RPCV members of Congress (Tom Petri of Wisconsin, and California Congressmen Sam Farr, Mike Honda and John Garamendi). It was overwhelmingly approved on January 13, 2014.
Read this one page summary about Peace Corps Commemorative legislation.
Read Senate Bill 230
Read House Bill 915
Follow this link to read about the final congressional approval for the Peace Corps Commemorative, and go to the end of the post for instructions on key lawmakers to thank for their support.
Since its founding in 1961, the Peace Corps has been a testament to the American ideals of humanitarian service, global peace and friendship, and an unwavering commitment to building a better world for all of humanity. It has been, as eminent historian Doris Kearns Goodwin describes, “an enduring American legacy of service in the cause of peace, a timeless symbol of some of America’s most honorable ideals and aspirations.”
In order to honor such a monumental legacy, the National Peace Corps Association established the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to urge our legislators to authorize the construction of a commemorative work in the nation’s capital, marking the historic and enduring significance of the establishment of the Peace Corps and the American ideals upon which it was founded.
The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation is envisioning a modest urban landscape near the Washington D.C. monumental core, in which visitors to D.C. can stroll and gather while contemplating the Peace Corps’ pivotal establishment and its vision for international understanding and peace through service. The commemorative would not be a memorial to any particular individuals nor to the agency itself, but rather would celebrate the Peace Corps’ founding as the first-ever international service organization of its kind in the history of the world.
Significant progress towards passage has been achieved in the past three years.
2010: In 2010, RPCV Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced legislation into the House of Representatives to approve such a commemorative. In his 2010 speech presenting the legislation, Representative Farr described the Commemorative as ”a place to contemplate the spirit of hope that gave rise to the…creation of a unique form of public service that seeks peace through international service, people-to-people diplomacy, and cross-cultural understanding.”
With such a champion for the Peace Corps on Capitol Hill, the 2010 legislation passed unanimously in the House.
2011: When a new Congress began its work in 2011, identical legislation was re-introduced on March 1st, the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s executive order to establish the Peace Corps. Authored by RPCV Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) and supported by fellow RPCVs Tom Petri (R-WI), Mike Honda (D-CA) and John Garamendi (D-CA).
View historian statements on the legislation (NOTE: This document was prepared in 2011. In this previous session of Congress the legislation had a different number – H.R. 854)
In late July, 2011, companion legislation was introduced in the Senate. Led by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the legislation was co-sponsored by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). With a growing list of co-sponsors, the legislation was unanimously passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
2012: By 2012, Peace Corps Commemorative legislation had strong bi-partisan support in both chambers, with nearly 160 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 22 co-sponsors in the Senate.
A major breakthrough for the legislation came in the closing days of 2012, when the Senate unanimously approved the legislation. This news was tempered however in the House of Representatives, where the bill was not brought forward for final passage. However, both chambers of Congress were now on record as having given unanimous approval to the legislation.
2013: Just five weeks after the United States Senate gave unanimous approval to Peace Corps Commemorative legislation, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Udall (D-CO) re-introduced the bill — now Senate Bill 230 — in the new, 113th Congress.
“For over 50 years, the Peace Corps has served as a powerful vehicle for volunteers who wish to use their talents to carry America’s humanitarian values to other parts of the world,” said Senator Portman, the lead sponsor of the legislation. Senator Udall, who Chairs the National Parks Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over the bill, noted how “the Peace Corps reflects the spirit of public service and global engagement that help us – in the words of JFK – ’to move the world down the road to peace.’ ”
Final, unanimous Senate approval of the legislation came in June.
On February 28, 2013, RPCV Congressman Joseph Kennedy III announced introduced legislation the Peace Corps Commemorative legislation in the House of Representatives — now House Bill 915 — with all four RPCV lawmakers (Farr, Petri, Honda and Garamendi) signing on as original co-sponsors. You can read the press release from Congressman Kennedy here.
Congressmen Kennedy, Farr and Petri appeared at a congressional hearing in November on the legislation. By year’s end, the Public Lands Subcommittee advanced the legislation to the entire Natural Resources Committee, which subsequently approved and sent to the House floor both versions of the legislation (S. 230; H.R. 915).