Approximately 40% of Congress signed these letters. see more
In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the United States Senate are expressing strong long-term support for the operation and eventual re-deployment of Peace Corps Volunteers.
A record 42 Senators signed an annual "Dear Colleague" letter circulated by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asking for robust funding for Peace Corps in the next fiscal year (FY 2021) which will commence on October 1st.
Written to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations on March 3rd, the letter refers to Peace Corps as "an iconic and vibrant part of the American identity." You can read the full text of the Senate letter here.
"Never has this annual Senate letter been more important than this year," said National Peace Corps Association President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "Senators Collins and Feinstein have demonstrated wonderful bi-partisan leadership in advancing this letter, and the record number of Senate signatures indicates the strong commitment to return Peace Corps Volunteers to service at the earliest time possible."
Coupled with a similarly strong and bi-partisan letter circulated last month in the House of Representatives (signed by 167 members), approximately 40% of Congress signed these letters.
Thank Your Senators
- Refer to the list below to see if your Senator(s) are among the 42 who signed the Collins-Feinstein Peace Corps funding letter.
- Write, edit, personalize and thank your Senator(s) for signing this important letter.
- Find the phone number of your Senators if you want to contact them by phone.
Senators who signed the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)
California: Feinstein (co-author), Harris
Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy
Delaware: Carper, Coons
Hawaii: Hirono, Schatz
Illinois: Duckworth, Durbin
Maine: Collins (co-author), King
Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen
Massachusetts: Markey, Warren
Michigan: Peters, Stabenow
Minnesota: Klobuchar, Smith
New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen
New Jersey: Booker, Menendez
New Mexico: Heinrich, Udall
New York: Gillibrand
North Carolina: Tillis
Oregon: Merkley, Wyden
Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse
Virginia: Kaine, Warner
West Virginia: Manchin
This is the fourth time President Trump is proposing Peace Corps cuts. see more
President Trump proposed a $9.3 million cut in baseline funding for the Peace Corps for Fiscal Year 2021. His proposal—sent to Congress this week—would provide $401.2 million for the agency, down from the current $410.5 million budget.
The request marks only the second time in the nearly 60-year history of the Peace Corps in which a president has proposed cutting agency funding for four consecutive years. In the previous three years, Congress responded by restoring the proposed cuts. However, the end result has been five consecutive years of flat funding for the agency.
In its budget justification report to Congress, Peace Corps says the budget will allow the agency "to continue supporting more than 6,700 Volunteers and trainees serving in 61 countries". However, that number is approximately eight percent below the 7,334 volunteers and trainees reported during the agency's annual census, conducted on September 30, 2019.
"In this period of growing prosperity, it is a shame that Peace Corps funding remains flat for five consecutive years,” said National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. “Now, the Administration once again proposes cuts that will further reduce Peace Corps' ability to meet the demand for volunteers around the world. We expect Congress will reject this budget cut and we hope Congress will find a way to give Peace Corps a raise in Fiscal Year 2021."
While Peace Corps' proposed budget represents a two percent reduction in funding, a much deeper 22 percent cut is proposed for the entire International Affairs Budget. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition issued this statement in response to those cuts.
As has been the case in each of the past three years, the White House has proposed the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which includes various domestic service programs including Americorps and Senior Corps. Voices for National Service issued this statement in response to the proposed elimination of CNCS.
Necessary funding for Peace Corps will be a primary point of focus during NPCA’s upcoming National Days of Action in Support of the Peace Corps. Contact Community Engagement Associate Arianna Richard at arianna@peacecorpsconnect to find out more about organizing an advocacy event in your area during March or April.
District office meetings, letter writing sessions...all in support of Peace Corps! see more
From Miami to San Diego, calls to action will be incorporated into viewings of a new Peace Corps documentary film. In Denver and Albany, letter writing gatherings are in the works. In Portland, Oregon, advocates are making their own video to share with lawmakers about why Peace Corps is important. And, from Richmond to Austin to San Bernardino, leaders of the Peace Corps community are seeking meetings with the district offices of their elected representatives.
As part of our 16th annual National Days of Action in support of the Peace Corps, community members from every corner of the country are organizing local solidarity events in support of the Peace Corps in March and April, in addition to out March 5th Capitol Hill National Day of Action.
You don't have to come to Washington to make known your support for the Peace Corps. Check out our interactive map below for details on activities being planned in your area. And, if there's nothing currently planned in your area, please fill out this registration form so you can be an advocacy leader in your state/region. Help us organize activities in every state!
Questions? Contact NPCA's Community Engagement Associate Arianna Richard for more information.
NPCA is proud to partner with Water Charity to bring clean water to the world.
Visit watercharity.com to learn more.
Ten former Peace Corps Directors oppose Senate legislation see more
A bi-partisan group of ten former Peace Corps directors are unified in their opposition to Senate legislation that would place Peace Corps operations under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State, ending the agency’s independent status.
“The independence of the Peace Corps has been carefully protected by Presidents, Secretaries of State, and Congress for the past 58 years,” said the letter addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and signed by ten former directors. “Part of the reason (for this independence) is to ensure that Volunteers would not be confused with those carrying out day-to-day U.S. foreign and security policies. Turning the Peace Corps into a bureau of the Department of State would void that independence.”
The letter also references the 1961 statement of then Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who outlined the importance of Peace Corps independence at its inception: “The Peace Corps is not an instrument of foreign policy because to make it so would rob it of its contribution to foreign policy.”
Last July, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the "Peace Corps Mission Accountability Act" (S.2320), which proposes Peace Corps be made a subordinate agency within the Department of State, with the Peace Corps budget being incorporated into the State Department. The bill also calls for the removal of Volunteers currently serving in China and states that "the Peace Corps shall not operate in any country that is hostile to the national security interests of the United States, as determined by the Secretary of State."
As part of NPCA's upcoming National Days of Action, advocates will meet with lawmakers to take action on this legislation. Register here if you plan to join us for our March 5th Capitol Hill advocacy day or register here if you can organize a solidarity event in your community during March or April.
Have questions? We're here to help. Email email@example.com.
Proposal would add $15 million to Peace Corps budget see more
The House of Representatives Subcommittee which has responsibility for funding our nation’s international affairs programs has recommended a 3.5 percent increase in funding for the Peace Corps for the Fiscal Year that begins next October (FY 2020).
(UPDATE: On Thursday, May 16th, the full House Appropriations Committee approved a spending package that includes the recommended $425 million for Peace Corps. The international affairs funding package will next head to the House floor for a vote.)
At a meeting last Friday, the Appropriations Subcommittee for State/Foreign Operations approved a spending plan that includes $425 million for the Peace Corps, up from the current funding level of $410.5 million. This was part of a $56.4 billion spending package for international affairs programs. That’s a proposed four percent ($2.2 billion) increase in overall spending.
The proposed increase in Peace Corps funding is in contrast to the Trump Administration's budget, which called for a $14 million cut in funding. At the same time, it falls short of the $450 million requested by 181 House members in a letter to the subcommittee.
The Senate's version of the State/Foreign Operations bill has not advanced as far as the House has at this time. Meanwhile, other challenges to address the overall budget and appropriations process have yet to be addressed, and could significantly impact final funding levels and the possibility of another government shutdown in the fall.
We're gearing up for our annual National Days of Action starting with Capitol Hill on February 28th see more
2019 marks the 15th consecutive year that National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is mobilizing the Peace Corps community during Peace Corps week in order to advance our goal to help the Peace Corps be the best it can be.
That effort will involve a push to secure the first increase in funding for the agency in nearly five years, continue to seek health care improvements for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who come home with service related illnesses or injuries, and advance legislation that honor and respect Peace Corps service.
We Need YOU
From the hallways of Congress to the main streets of your local communities, we need your involvement during an uncertain political environment. There is no more important way to bring the world home than sharing your views on Peace Corps service with your members of Congress.
As we prepare for our National Days of Action, here’s how you can help.
- Join us on Capitol Hill: Register now for our February 28th Capitol Hill advocacy day. We need 200 committed advocates to bring the Peace Corps message to all 535 congressional offices. No prior experience is necessary, but we need you to register no later than February 10th.
- Organize a Solidarity Event Back Home: We need activity in all fifty states! From February through April, RPCVs will be organizing district office meetings with members of congress, conducting phone call and letter writing gatherings, and educating friends and neighbors on the importance of supporting the Peace Corps. Even if you don’t have key details planned, sign up here today so we can help you plan your local solidarity event.
- Write Your Lawmakers Right Now: Take five minutes right now to write your elected representatives. With the new Congress one week into their job, congratulate your lawmaker(s), wish them well and introduce them to key Peace Corps initiatives as we move forward.
Be sure to visit NPCA’s advocacy webpages in the coming weeks to stay up-to-date on developments as we build towards our National Days of Action.
You can be a citizen advocate on Peace Corps issues in your own backyard. see more
2019 is going to be a big year for NPCA advocacy efforts, and it all starts with our 15th annual National Days of Action, running from February 28th through April. During that period, we want every state to have one or more advocacy related activity. From organizing a district office meeting with your new member of Congress to incorporating letter writing on key Peace Corps policy issues into a planned pot luck dinner or happy hour, we need you to share your volunteer experience and let your elected representatives know why a strong and well-funded Peace Corps is important to our nation.
Let's Get Started
Register here if you can help lead on one (or more) activities in your area. Even if you don't know all the details for your event, sign up now so we can start assisting you with your plans. As we move towards March NPCA advocacy staff will support you with details on issues, facts and key talking points to support your work.
We're getting ready. All we need is your passion, energy and commitment!
(Photo: During the 2018 National Days of Action, Buffalo RPCVs organized several activities including a district meeting with staff of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins)
Help us bring 200 advocates to Capitol Hill see more
For the past fourteen years, National Peace Corps Association's contribution to Peace Corps Week has been devoted to raising the collective voice of our community to urge Congress to support measures aimed at strengthening and improving the Peace Corps. Over those years, that day has served as a launch point leading to tens of millions of additional dollars to support Peace Corps programming, and legislation enhancing Peace Corps health, safety and recognition.
Now, as we prepare for the 15th annual Capitol Hill Day of Action, you can make plans to join in!
We will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday, February 28, 2019. On this day we will urge strong funding for the Peace Corps, explain why Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who come home with service-related illnesses or injuries need further support, and promote other forms of recognition for Peace Corps service.
Will you be one of the Peace Corps voices on Capitol Hill February 28th?
Register for NPCA's Capitol Hill National Day of Action right now...right here!
Join events around the country in March to support the Peace Corps! see more
National Peace Corps Association's (NPCA) March 1st Capitol Hill Day of Action to support a stronger and better Peace Corps is booked to capacity!
But that's not all that is happening. Not even close.
Our National Days of Action (that's right, days) is designed for all Peace Corps supporters to come together at a key moment on the calendar to:
- Make sure Peace Corps gets strong funding in the current (FY 2018) budget, as we also kick-off critical mobilization for FY 2019 Peace Corps and international affairs funding.
- Make sure the best possible Peace Corps health and safety legislation passes in this 115th Congress by year's end.
Get Ready to Take Action!
If you don't do anything else for the rest of the year, now is the time to show your support for the Peace Corps. There are many ways to join the mobilization.
- Right Now: Plan to Attend/Organize a Local Days of Action Event: Letter writing in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Antonio and Honolulu. Meetings with lawmakers at their district offices in Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tuscaloosa and Kansas City. Visit our events page today to connect with a Days of Action activity in your area. Contact us if you want to organize an event in your area, or participate in Days of Action prep webinars in the coming days.
- March 1st: As nearly 200 advocates and other supporters converge on Capitol Hill, back them up! Plan to visit our website to email or call your lawmakers urging positive action on the Peace Corps.
- Ongoing: Our success requires your support! Make a donation of any amount to support NPCA's advocacy program.
And, Updated State Resources!
Has your Senator signed past Peace Corps funding letters? Is your Congressman/woman a co-sponsor of Peace Corps health/safety legislation? And, how many Peace Corps volunteers have served from your state since 1961? All of that information - and much, much more - can be found in our updated state resources!
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes Nick Castle Reform Act see more
On the five-year anniversary of the death of Nick Castle, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in China, legislation named in his memory took a step closer to passage in the United States Senate.
Yesterday, the Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2017 (S. 2286) was approved unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The legislation outlines key parameters to ensure the agency hires well-qualified personnel capable of administering effective health care services for volunteers, and calls upon the agency to complete all open recommendations from a 2016 Inspector General Assessment on medical care. The legislation also includes provisions that extend key elements of volunteer safety legislation (passed in 2011) to address sexual assault and other acts of violence against volunteers, and proposes further reforms to address matters related to sexual assault. Additionally, the legislation extends existing health care coverage for service-related injuries four months after volunteers complete their service, and requires public disclosure of volunteer satisfaction surveys and early termination rates.
"I am always inspired by young people, like Nick Castle, who dedicate themselves to making a difference early in life," said Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in a press release following the vote. "Nick exemplified the extraordinary commitment of Peace Corps volunteers who devote 2 - 3 years in service to our country. They deserve the very best support we can provide...As this bill advances to the full Senate, I am encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for our efforts to strengthen the Peace Corps and honor Nick Castle's memory."
Similar Peace Corps health and safety legislation is also in the House of Representatives. Introduced by Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act (H.R. 2259), contains many provisions similar to the Senate legislation, as well as additional provisions related to volunteers returning home with service related illness or injuries. Earlier this week, Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Sean Maloney (D-NY) became the latest co-sponsors of H.R. 2259, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 52.
NPCA is supporting both versions of this legislation, urging the Senate and House to pass their bills and come together to approve the strongest final bill possible.
Join us. Take action now! Urge your lawmakers to co-sponsor this important Peace Corps legislation.
Meisha Robinson posted an articleNPCA continues to stand by RPCVs that were victims of sexual assault during their service. see more
National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) continues to stand by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) that were victims of sexual assault during their service. We also recognize the efforts Peace Corps has made to better support victims of sexual assault. Legislation introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) will also further address the challenges that victims face in country and upon their return home.
NPCA strongly supports both pieces of legislation and encourages you to join us. Throughout the month of March, during our National Days of Action, we are meeting with lawmakers at the district level and on March 1st, during our Capitol Hill Day of Action, we are meeting with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. to champion these critical pieces of legislation.
Rep. Poe’s legislation, the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act, would reauthorize important components of Peace Corps safety and security law, including an Office of Victim Advocacy to support Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who are subjected to violence, and a sexual assault advisory council made up of experts in the field and charged with assisting and assessing agency efforts to reduce risk and improve the response to victims of sexual assault. Similarly, Sen. Corker’s bill, the Nick Castle Reform Act of 2018, proposes further reforms aimed at addressing specific concerns highlighted in the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) report.
It is important to note that both the Senate and House legislation also tackle two other adjacent areas of reform that demand attention and concern. Both bills call on Peace Corps to employ the highest standards possible for overseas medical personnel and ensure that overseas posts have adequate medical staffing. Rep. Poe’s bill also seeks to address the critical need to improve the post-service health care needs for returning volunteers coming home with service-related illness or injury.
We applaud and appreciate the progress that has been made as Congress and the agency have worked to improve the health, safety and security for survivors of violence and sexual assault. At the same time, much more needs to be done. Your voice is needed to ensure that PCVs and RPCVs get the health and safety support they deserve.
- View Peace Corps' response to CBS News report on sexual assault
- Register to attend the March 1st Capitol Hill Day of Action
- Attend a National Days of Action event near you
- Organize a National Days of Action event in your state
It's not just Capitol Hill - We're organizing 75 solidarity events around the country! see more
In Pittsburgh, Katie Haas Conrad (Sierra Leone 2010-12) says "We have to work to continue to educate our legislators of the importance of the (Peace Corps) or we will not be able to send professionals to interested countries." That's why for the second year in a row, Katie is spearheading a letter writing event with the Pittsburgh Area Peace Corps Association in March as part of NPCA's National Days of Action.
Nearly 1,000 miles due west in Nebraska, Andrea Kruse (Bulgaria 2008-10) is making plans to organize a district meeting with the Lincoln office of Senator Ben Sasse. "Years ago I was asked if I wanted to join a district meeting with some fellow Minnesota RPCVs and said yes...From that meeting, I was told by a staffer to keep coming even if the congresswoman was a Peace Corps champion, because power in numbers and the personal stories have the impact."
Not everyone can come to Capitol Hill to be an advocates on key Peace Corps issues. BUT, everyone can take a moment in March to participate in National Days of Action solidarity events being planned around the country.
Along with Pittsburgh and Lincoln, we are hearing of plans starting to emerge all around! Buffalo, New York and Portland, Maine, northern New Mexico and Hawaii!
Ready to commit to organizing an event in your area? Fill out the form linked below so we can start working with you and promoting your efforts! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc7h6nyJ73bvrfG9oh6HMCpowXyPC7kX1zgaBUosB2yBb-_BQ/viewform
Look for updates in the near future and help us secure at least one Days of Action event in every state!