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legislation

January 20, 2022

Legislation in Maryland Would Bring Equity for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Seeking In-State Tuition

NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst and former Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen testified before a committee in the Maryland State Senate on January 19 to argue that returning Volunteers should receive in-state tuition benefits. Those who serve in the military and AmeriCorps already do. By Jonathan Pearson   Far too often, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are left behind at the state government level when it comes to benefits that are afforded to others for their service to our nation. In the state of Maryland, a legislative effort is underway to address one of those inequities: who qualifies for in-state tuition. Marylanders seeking...

December 22, 2021

Peace Corps Safety and Security: Looking at a Decade of Legislation for Change

Progress, failures, and what’s on the horizon: a conversation convened for Peace Corps Connect 2021   Illustration by Anna + Elena = Balbusso     On September 26, 2011, as the Peace Corps community marked 50 years of Volunteers serving in communities around the world, the U.S. Senate passed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, which was signed into law later that year. Three years ago, Congress completed work on the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act. These two pieces of legislation were designed to bring about improvements and reforms pertaining to the health, safety, and security of Volunteers. What...

May 12, 2021

Legislation for a Changed World

It has been decades since Congress tackled Peace Corps legislation this sweeping. Along with important reforms, it would lead to 10,000 Volunteers serving in the field — a number not seen in half a century. By Jonathan Pearson Illustration by traffic_analyzer   On March 1 of this year, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and California Congressman John Garamendi introduced H.R. 1456, the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2021. Co-sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), who serves as co-chair of the House Peace Corps Caucus with Garamendi, H.R. 1456 will serve as the foundation for National Peace Corps Association’s 60th anniversary legislative agenda. The...

January 26, 2021

Volunteers in the House

The 2020 congressional elections mark the end of an era for Peace Corps in Congress: Now there’s only one. And he is working on new legislation to support and improve the Peace Corps. By Jonathan Pearson Photo: John Garamendi   The 2020 congressional elections mark the end of an era for Peace Corps in Congress: Since 1975, at least two returned Volunteers served simultaneously in the halls of Congress. Until now. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), who served as a Volunteer in Ethiopia 1966–68, was reelected with a relatively comfortable victory, securing 58 percent of the vote in California’s Third District....

December 17, 2020

Updated: House Unanimously Passes Act to Carry Forward Work on Peace Corps Commemorative. Senators Call for Bipartisan Support. Funding for the Peace Corps Agency Still Uncertain.

Legislation introduced by Joseph Kennedy III will enable a project years in the making to be seen through to completion. Senators Portman and Shaheen call on their colleagues to pass the bill as well. But funding for the Peace Corps Agency is still at risk for 2021, with the Senate having put forth a $51 million cut. By Jonathan Pearson   After Dominican Republic Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, one of the first pieces of legislation he introduced and passed provided congressional authorization for the creation of a Peace Corps Commemorative in Washington,...

August 10, 2020

Lawmakers ask: How can we help?

In addition to legislation to support evacuated Volunteers, members of Congress have also taken time to share encouragement.     Peace Corps Volunteers dedicate two years of their lives to serve their country abroad and are an important component of American foreign policy and international aid efforts. I’ve been a proud supporter of the Peace Corps for many years and hope to see Volunteers return to the field as soon as it’s safe to do so. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s important we support Volunteers and keep working to make emergency benefits available to them. I’ll keep working to...

August 10, 2020

Work on the Hill

Here’s how we’ve been advocating for evacuated Volunteers — and a Peace Corps in a changed world. By Jonathan Pearson and Steven Boyd Saum   The coronavirus pandemic and temporary suspension of all Peace Corps programs marks the greatest existential threat to the agency in its history. When Volunteers were evacuated, they were ripped from communities with hardly any notice; in March they came back to a pandemic and an economic maelstrom. Regulations typically would not allow them to be eligible for unemployment insurance; their health insurance coverage would expire in a month. In some cases they had no home to...