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National Days of Advocacy

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    With your help we can get a record number of signatures on this annual letter. see more

    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

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    What will Peace Corps’ future hold? It’s up to us. And work is underway. see more

    On March 1 we kicked off a season of advocacy in support of the Peace Corps. And we’re working to transform it for a changed world. On March 1, Rep. John Garamendi introduced comprehensive Peace Corps legislation.

     

    By Jonathan Pearson

     

    For 17 years, one of National Peace Corps Association’s key contributions to Peace Corps Week is our National Days of Advocacy. This Peace Corps 60th anniversary year is marked by a global pandemic and social distancing, as well as national crisis that includes a U.S. Capitol closed to visitors. In spite of these unprecedented challenges, our advocacy mobilization carries on. And during the months of March and April, your involvement is needed like never before.

     

    Our March 1 Kickoff

    Our Days of Advocacy kickoff began on March 1 (Peace Corps Day). More than 250 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) former Peace Corps staff and other supporters joined a meeting which featured remarks by Peace Corps champions in Congress including RPCV Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA). Several advocacy leaders shared their planned activities in the coming weeks and many joined individual state/regional breakout meetings to discuss further plans for mobilization.

    It's not too late to get involved in our National Days of Advocacy. In fact, we are just getting started!

     

    Take Individual Action Right Now

    Follow this link to write to your members of Congress. Share this link with others. We need every citizen who believes in the importance of the Peace Corps to contact Congress at this consequential moment in Peace Corps history!

     

    Get Involved

    Check out our 2021 Days of Advocacy map to see if any activities — virtual meetings with congressional offices, virtual letter writing, advocacy workshops, and more — are already in the works. If there’s no activity already scheduled in your area, fill out this form and help lead one!

     

    Virtual Workshop Recording

    If you are new to advocacy, follow this link for details on how to plan and carry out effective virtual advocacy meetings. And, here is a video recording of our March 9th Virtual Advocacy 101 Workshop.

     

     

    More Resources:

    Visit our State Resources page for a one-page document about Peace Corps activity in your state (which you can download and use as a leave behind document for congressional office meetings), and to see profiles of every member of Congress.

    Follow this link for our generic, two page leave behind document that you can share with congressional offices.

     

    Issues: Funding, Peace Corps Legislation, COVID Relief, Jobs

    Our Days of Advocacy Agenda is still taking shape. We’ll update this page as more information becomes available. During March and April 2021, here are some of our key Peace Corps–related advocacy issues:
     

    Peace Corps Funding

    Our advocacy to support strong Peace Corps funding begins now, as Congress begins to work on federal appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022 (which begins October 1, 2021). In the weeks to come, we anticipate intensive mobilization to urge members to sign annual Senate and House Peace Corps Funding “Dear Colleague” letters. Right now, our specific request is that you ask senators and representatives include strong funding for the Peace Corps when they submit their individual requests to their respective Appropriations Committee. The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (see below) recommends a roughly 10 percent increase in FY 22 funding for Peace Corps — from $410 Million to $450 Million — to support redeployment and key reforms.

    Click here to read our Peace Corps Funding issue brief and talking points.

    Click here to read the House Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague letter.

    Click here for a letter writing action to support the House Dear Colleague letter.
     

    Comprehensive Peace Corps Legislation

    On March 1, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer John Garamendi (D-CA) and Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1456) in the House of Representatives. Read Congressman Garamendi's press release, which includes a link to the legislation and an outline of the many provisions to support, improve, and honor the work of Peace Corps Volunteers and those who have returned.

    At this time there is no companion legislation in the Senate.

    Click here to read our Peace Corps Reauthorization Act issue brief and talking points.

    Click here for a one–page document you can give to your representatives during House meetings. 
     

    COVID Relief and Jobs Legislation

    In both the Senate and the House, identical legislation has been introduced to mobilize resources, confront the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritize the hiring of RPCVs (among others) in the response. The Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs To Fight COVID-19 Act of 2021 (Senate Bill 32; House Bill 460) is starting to gain co-sponsors. Thank your members if they are already a co-sponsor. If they are not, ask them to co-sponsor this legislation. Click here to read our issue brief and talking points.

     

    Story updated April 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. 


     Jonathan Pearson is the Director of Advocacy for National Peace Corps Association.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Let's make this the largest mobilization of the Peace Corps community see more

    Last spring National Peace Corps Association delivered advocacy materials to every member of Congress. This year that work goes virtual. We kick things off March 1.

    By Jonathan Pearson

     

    Starting in March 2021, and for the 17th consecutive year, National Peace Corps Association is planning National Days of Advocacy in Support of the Peace Corps.

    But this year we’re going virtual.

    March 1, 2021, will mark the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s executive order establishing the Peace Corps. Last year, Volunteers were evacuated from around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The redeployment of Volunteers is expected in the coming months. And, with a new president and Congress — which will have nearly 70 new members — there is tremendous work to be done to ensure a strong future for the agency and its next generation of Volunteers. So we need a mobilization like never before.

     

    Congress has nearly 70 new members. There is tremendous work to be done to ensure a strong future for the agency and its next generation of Volunteers. 

     

    Step up, sign up!

    After a successful series of virtual district office meetings with lawmakers this past fall, we will be gearing up for nationwide activities during the months of March and April.

    Follow this link and sign up to be among the first to step forward to lead Days of Advocacy activities in your region. Take the lead organizing a virtual district meeting with your elected representatives. Organize a virtual letter writing night. Plan a statewide training on how to be an effective advocate for the Peace Corps. A stronger, better and redeployed Peace Corps begins with you! You won’t need to come to Washington, DC. You can be a leader from the comfort of your home.

     

     

    Join us March 1 for the kickoff

    We will kick off Days of Advocacy with a virtual gathering on March 1, 8:30–9:30 PM EST. 

    What’s in store:
     

    • Hear from several strong congressional supporters of Peace Corps including RPCV Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). 
       
    • Get an update on key pending Peace Corps legislation. 
       
    • Hear about Days of Advocacy activities being planned for the months of March and April. 

    At this critical, 60th anniversary moment for the Peace Corps, please join us! 

    Sign Up for March 1 Kickoff

     

    Questions? Contact us at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org.


    Jonathan Pearson is the Director of Advocacy for National Peace Corps Association.

     

    Story updated February 15, 2021

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act is presented in both houses. see more

    Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act is presented in both houses. And a Peace Corps Reauthorization Act is in the works.

     

    By Jonathan Pearson

     

    As a new Congress settles in to begin its work, already in January new Peace Corps legislation is starting to emerge. And while new pieces of legislation are being developed, it is also likely that legislative initiatives introduced in the previous (116th) Congress will be reintroduced. 

    At National Peace Corps Association we are gearing up for our 17th annual National Days of Advocacy in Support of the Peace Corps. Some of the legislation shown below will be a key part of our citizen lobbying efforts. Sign up to lead a Days of Advocacy virtual activity in your state/region.

    We will update this story with news on emerging Peace Corps–related legislation.

     

    Senate:

    Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act

    • Lead Sponsor(s): Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and nine others

    • Bill Number: S. 32

    • Copy of Bill/Press Release: Read Senator Gillibrand’s press release here.

    • Bill Summary: Legislation that would invest billions in the nation’s public health jobs and infrastructure and aid the country’s vaccine distribution campaign, and would invest billions in local public health infrastructure to recruit, train, and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans to build public health capacity in underserved communities. Additionally, the Resilience Force would complement the Health Force by bolstering the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workforce in the whole-of-government effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

    • Peace Corps Connection: Unemployed individuals who served in the Peace Corps would be among those prioritized for hiring under this legislation.

    • Quote From Senator Gillibrand: “Enacting a Health Force as part of robust federal plan would enable us to train hundreds of thousands of public health workers, create jobs in struggling communities, and ensure that every community has the resources to reach every American in need of the vaccine.”

     

     

    House of Representatives:

    Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act

    • Lead Sponsor(s): Dean Phillips (D-MN), Jason Crow (D-CO), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

    • Bill Number: TBD

    • Copy of Bill/Press Release: Read the release from Representative Phillips.

    • Bill Summary: Legislation that would invest billions in the nation’s public health jobs and infrastructure and aid the country’s vaccine distribution campaign, and would invest billions in local public health infrastructure to recruit, train, and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans to build public health capacity in underserved communities. Additionally, the Resilience Force would complement the Health Force by bolstering the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workforce in the whole-of-government effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

    • Peace Corps Connection: Unemployed individuals who served in the Peace Corps would be among those prioritized for hiring under this legislation.

    • Quote from Representative Phillips: “These are unprecedented times that demand thoughtful but expedient action to save lives. Americans deserve a coordinated, fully-funded government response. National service is a time-honored American tradition that is needed as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic.”

     

    Peace Corps Reauthorization Act

    • Lead Sponsor(s): John Garamendi (D-CA)
    • Bill Number: TBD
    • Copy of Bill/Press Release: TBA
    • Bill Summary: RPCV Congressman Garamendi is in the process of updating and reintroducing comprehensive legislation to support and improve the Peace Corps. The legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.
    • Peace Corps Connection: This bill will focus exclusively on the Peace Corps and Peace Corps community.

     

    Story updated January 26, 2021 at 2 p.m.


    Jonathan Pearson is Director of Advocacy for National Peace Corps Association