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Take Action Now: Ask Your Member of Congress to Support Robust Peace Corps Funding

A bipartisan letter from two members of Congress calls on colleagues to sign on to strong support for Peace Corps during this critical time. To ensure support, your Representative needs to hear from you in the next two weeks.

By Jonathan Pearson

 

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and Garret Graves (R-LA), Co-Chairs of the House Peace Corps Caucus, have issued a letter to colleagues in the House of Representative calling for robust funding for Peace Corps. They are asking the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations for some long-needed support — and to bolster funding as the agency undertakes to send Volunteers back into the field. (For details, see the letter at the end of this post.)

The goal: Increase Peace Corps funding for Fiscal Year 2022 from $410 million to $450 million.

The task for the Peace Corps community: Reach out to members of the House and get them to sign on — before the deadline of April 23.

Our show of support is critical to ensure robust funding for the Peace Corps. We have only two weeks to deliver. 

 

Take Action

This is an action only for the House of Representatives. A similar action in the Senate is expected later. We’ll share that news as soon as we have it. 

Here’s what you can do today: Contact your Representative and urge them to sign on to the Garamendi-Graves Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter.

Share this news post with others you know who support the Peace Corps and urge them to take action, too. Peace Corps Volunteers can help tackle problems in communities around the world — and they’re being enlisted to help across the United States during the pandemic. Let’s make sure they have the support they need to get the job done.

 

Take Action Now

 

 

Who Has Signed the Letter?

Here are the lawmakers who signed the Garamendi-Graves Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter for Fiscal Year 2022. 

 

DEADLINE to sign on: Friday, April 23, 2021

SIGNATURES as of Wednesday, April 14, 6:00 PM: 84

ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES NEEDED to surpass 2019 record: 98

 

Alabama: Sewell

Alaska: Young

American Samoa: Radewagan

Arizona: Gallego, Grijalva

California: Bass, Bera, Carbajal, Cardenas, Chu, Costa, DeSaulniers, Garamendi (co-author), Mike Levin, Lieu, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Panetta, Swalwell, Takano, Vargas

Colorado: Neguse

Connecticut: Courtney, Hayes, Larson

Delaware: Blunt Rochester

District of Columbia: Norton

Florida: Deutch

Georgia: Hank Johnson, McBath, David Scott

Hawai'i: Kahele

Illinois: Bustos, Davis, Foster, Chuy Garcia, Schakowsky

Indiana: Carson

Kansas: Davids

Louisiana: Graves (co-author)

Maine: Golden

Maryland: Sarbanes

Massachusetts: Keating, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Trahan

Minnesota: Craig, Phillips

Nevada: Horsford, Titus

New Jersey: Malinowski, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sires, Van Drew

New York: Delgado, Jones, Katko, Sean Patrick Maloney, Tonko, Torres

Northern Marianas: Sablan

Ohio: Beatty

Oregon: Bonamici, DeFazio

Pennsylvania: Fitzpatrick

Puerto Rico: Gonzalez-Colon

Rhode Island: Langevin

Texas: Allred, Castro, Vicente Gonzalez, Green, Jackson-Lee

Vermont: Welch

Virginia: Beyer, Connolly, Luria

Washington: DelBene

Wisconsin: Kind, Moore

 

Don’t see your Representative listed yet? Then they need to hear from you! Thanks for rallying others to join you in supporting Peace Corps at this critical time.


Here’s the Text from the Letter

Read it below — or download the PDF.

 

April 28, 2021

 

The Honorable Barbara Lee, Chairwoman
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Hal Rogers, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

 

Dear Chairwoman Lee and Ranking Member Rogers:

Thank you for your commitment to the Peace Corps. Because of your efforts, the agency is poised for even greater impact at a time when the unique role of the Peace Corps is urgently needed. To ensure the Peace Corps has the resources needed to further its mission, we respectfully ask that you appropriate $450 million for fiscal year 2022.

Public support for Peace Corps remains strong, and its programs continue to renew and expand, but the agency’s potential is severely limited by its essentially flat funding levels in the past six years. The agency’s budget allocation has not increased beyond $410.5 million since fiscal year 2016. Providing $450 million for fiscal year 2022 would allow the Peace Corps to resume in-country Volunteer activities once safe and prudent to do so, and support the longstanding goal of deploying of 10,000 volunteers worldwide.

More Americans want to serve than the Peace Corps has the funding to absorb. The ratio of annual applications to available Volunteer positions currently stands at over 4:1. Retired General Stanley McChrystal has called this gap between applicants and service opportunities “democratic energy wasted and a generation of patriotism needlessly squandered.” Additionally, six years of essentially flat funding has compelled the agency to cut both pre-service and in-service training days to meet budget restrictions, meaning Volunteers get less time for language, technical, and cross-cultural training.

The Peace Corps works to accomplish its legislative mandate within the context of unique security challenges, and the agency has taken steps to improve the health and safety of its Volunteers as it implements provisions within the Sam Farr Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-256). However, there remain residual health care policy issues within the agency that require increased budgetary support. In particular, we need increased funding and compensation levels for Volunteers temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of their service abroad.

Similar to members of our military and diplomatic corps, Peace Corps Volunteers take an oath to serve our country, and do so often in remote, challenging environments. Increased funding is necessary to ensure that Peace Corps can fulfill its commitment to the health and safety of American citizens who choose to serve.

We thank you for your efforts to provide Peace Corps with the resources it needs to fuel the next generation of American leadership, and we respectfully ask that you make this $450 million investment in the agency for fiscal year 2022.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Garamendi
Member of Congress

 

Garret Graves
Member of Congress

 

 

Story updated April 7, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. 


Jonathan Pearson is Director of Advocacy for National Peace Corps Association. Write him at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org