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Wednesday May 1, 2024

40 Senators Sign Annual Peace Corps Funding Letter

40 Senators signed the annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter, urging support for the president’s FY 2025 request of $479 million for the Peace Corps.

 

By Jonathan Pearson

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and fellow committee member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), have sent the annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations. The letter urges support for President Biden’s request of $479 million for the Peace Corps – an eleven percent funding increase – for the fiscal year that begins next October 1st (FY 2025).

Community Mobilization

Our thanks to all members of the Peace Corps community reached out to their Senators to urge them to take action. This marks the third consecutive year – and the fifth time in the past six years – that at least 40 Senators signed this letter.

Action on the letter in the Senate immediately followed action on a similar Peace Corps funding letter in the House of Representatives, and marked a strong close to National Peace Corps Association’s 20th annual National Days of Advocacy in Support of the Peace Corps.

Aftermath

While activity on the Senate and House letters are now closed, we continue to encourage advocates to write their lawmakers to express their thanks for signing the letters, or expressing disappointment if they did not.

 

Take Action Now

 

Read this year’s final Senate letter (with signatures) or find the text of the letter (without the signatures) at the bottom of this page.


Who signed the letter?

Here are the Senators who have signed this year’s Cardin-Shaheen Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter for Fiscal Year 2025.

DEADLINE to sign on: 6:00 PM Friday, May 10, 2024 (This letter is now closed)

SIGNATURES as of  Monday, May 13, 2024 at 1:00 PM: 40

SIGNATURES that were needed to reach the 2022 record: 3

Arizona: Kelly

California: Butler, Padilla

Colorado: Bennet

Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

Delaware: Carper

Georgia: Ossoff

Hawaii: Hirono, Schatz

Illinois: Duckworth

Maine: King

Maryland: Cardin (co-author), Van Hollen

Massachusetts: Markey, Warren

Michigan: Stabenow

Minnesota: Klobuchar, Smith

Nevada: Cortez-Masto, Rosen

New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen (co-author)

New Jersey: Booker, Menendez

New Mexico: Heinrich, Lujan

New York: Gillibrand

Ohio: Brown

Oregon: Merkley, Wyden

Pennsylvania: Casey

Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

Vermont: Sanders, Welch

Virginia: Kaine, Warner

Washington: Cantwell

Wisconsin: Baldwin

 

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

Read it below — or download the letter.

May 13, 2024

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,

For 62 years, the United States’ the Peace Corps has given more than 240,000 Volunteers the opportunity to serve and promote global stability through community development and cultural diplomacy. These ambassadors of peace have dedicated billions of hours to generate lasting positive impacts on local communities’ prosperity and independence in countries around the world.

Since its inception, the Peace Corps has gathered consistent bipartisan support for the agency to expand the important work of sustainable development around the world. In keeping with this tradition, we request that you support the President’s Budget request of $479 million for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2025. This funding will better enable the Peace Corps to resume full-scale operations after suspending global operations due to the pandemic, improve volunteer safety and security, and increase the recruitment of skilled Volunteers.

As the first post-pandemic Volunteer cohorts return home from serving, the Peace Corps continues to work towards returning to pre-pandemic volunteer levels. Countries remain eager for the Peace Corps to return and relaunch programs. Over the last year alone, the Peace Corps has worked to reopen programs in countries such as El Salvador, Mozambique, and Palau. The agency will need new resources if they are to meet the increasing demand for Volunteers.

The Peace Corps represents one of the most cost-effective ways to promote the United States’ interests abroad while providing tangible benefit and engagement for host communities, as well as providing valuable international experience for American Volunteers. Once returning home, many Volunteers maintain their commitment to service by taking leadership roles in business, civil society, and government, with an estimated 7,000 returned Peace Corps Volunteers working across the executive branch agencies today.

As the geopolitical stage continues to change, promoting the United States partnership through the Peace Corps national service agenda will help bring people together, bridge divides and build understanding between citizens around the world.

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

Sincerely,

Story updated May 13, 2024 at 9:00  p.m. Eastern


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


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