Peace Corps Funding

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Legislation includes $88 million rescission of Peace Corps funding see more

    Legislation would jeopardize funds that provided for health and safety of more than 7,300 evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers amid global pandemic. Let’s keep that from happening.
     

    While there has been significant legislation introduced to support Peace Corps and evacuated volunteers, a South Carolina Congressman has announced legislation that would — in part — rescind the $88 million in emergency appropriations approved earlier for Peace Corps.

    Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) has introduced H.R. 6657, the Working Under Humanity’s Actual Needs (WUHAN) Rescissions Act, which calls for eliminating more than $27 billion from the CARES Act legislation that was overwhelmingly approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March. Included in the new legislation is the proposed return of the $88 million appropriated for Peace Corps which covered evacuation and initial support costs for 7,300 volunteers. Read Representative Duncan's press release here.

     

    The legislation “would seem to indicate that the health and safety of the 7,300 affected Peace Corps Volunteers was unrelated to the pandemic and that bringing them home safely was wasteful spending.”
         —Glenn Blumhorst, National Peace Corps Association 

     

    “Through this action and his comments, Congressman Duncan would seem to indicate that the health and safety of the 7,300 affected Peace Corps Volunteers was unrelated to the pandemic and that bringing them home safely was wasteful spending,” said NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst. “This proposal is the height of irresponsibility and we are confident it will face a resounding, bi-partisan rejection in the House of Representatives.”

    Many lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – have been stepping up with legislation to show strong support for Peace Corps, the evacuees, and eventual redeployment. Follow this link for a summary of previous developments.

    Along with Representative Jeff Duncan, these are the other ten original co-sponsors of the legislation: Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar, (R-AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ross Spano (R-FL), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Scott Perry (R-PA), Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Alex Mooney (R-WV).

     

    Take Action Now

    Follow this link to express strong opposition to this proposal with your member of the House of Representatives.

    You can also support our ongoing efforts to help evacuated Volunteers — and ensure they have the resources they need — by making a gift here.

     Write to Congress

     

    Updated May 6 5:15 p.m.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Can we surpass last year's record number of signatures on this letter? see more

    While action on the annual House Peace Corps funding letter has concluded, opportunities for Senators to sign onto their version of this important letter continues. However, this is the final week for Senators to sign the letter.

     

    Senate

    A bipartisan Senate letter asking for robust funding for Peace Corps in fiscal year 2021 is co-authored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

    Take Action with your Senators**

    • If you wish, you can read the Senate letter here.
    • Ask your Senator(s) to "sign the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter that is now circulating".
    • TAKE ACTION HERE: Write and ask you Senator(s) to sign the letter (or, thank them if they already signed! - see list below).
    • Find the phone number of your Senators if you want to contact them by phone.

    Deadline to sign on: Friday April 10th.

    Signatures as of Tuesday, April 7, 9:00 AM: 27 (see list below)

    Additional Signatures Needed to Reach Last Year's Record: 14

    (** Along with the Peace Corps letter, we encourage you to urge your Senator(s) to also sign a similar letter - being circulated by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), requesting strong funding for all international affairs funding, including Peace Corps)

     

    Senators who signed the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    California: Feinstein (co-author)

    Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

    Colorado: Bennet

    Delaware: Carper, Coons

    Hawaii: Schatz

    Illinois: Duckworth

    Maine: Collins (co-author), King

    Maryland: Cardin, Van Hollen

    Massachusetts: Warren

    Michigan: Peters, Stabenow

    Minnesota: Klobuchar

    Nevada: Rosen

    New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

    North Carolina: Tillis

    Ohio: Brown

    Oregon: Wyden

    Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

    Vermont: Sanders

    Virginia: Kaine

    Washington: Cantwell

     

     

    House of Representatives

    The co-chairs of the House of Representatives Peace Corps Caucus, RPCVs John Garamendi (D-CA) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Representative Garrett Graves (R-LA) circulated a letter that their colleagues can sign, asking that Peace Corps funding for the fiscal year that begins this coming October (FY 2021) be increased to $450 million.

    THIS LETTER IS NOW CLOSED.

    Our thanks to all who reached out to their House Reps on this important action.

    We await a final update on signers of this letter.

    You can read the House letter here.

     

    Lawmakers who Signed the Garamendi - Graves - Kennedy Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    Deadline to sign on: Thursday March 12, 2020 (a final signature count is still pending)

    Signatures as of Thursday, March 12, 4:00 PM: 167

    Additional Signatures Needed to Surpass Last Year's Record: 15

     

    Alabama: Sewell

    Alaska: Young

    American Samoa: Radewagan

    Arizona: Gallego, Grijalva

    California: Barragan, Bass, Bera, Brownley, Carbajal, Chu, Cisneros, Costa, Susan Davis, DeSaulniers, Eshoo, Garamendi (co-author), Harder, Khanna, LaMalfa, Barbara Lee, Mike Levin, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Matsui, McNerney, Napolitano, Panetta, Scott Peters, Porter, Rouda, Roybal-Allard, Sanchez, Schiff, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Vargas, Waters

    Colorado: DeGette, Neguse, Perlmutter, Tipton

    Connecticut: Courtney, DeLauro, Hayes, Himes, Larson

    Delaware: Blunt Rochester

    District of Columbia: Norton

    Florida: Castor, Deutch, Hastings, Murphy, Shalala

    Georgia: Bishop, Hank Johnson, Lewis, David Scott

    Hawaii: Gabbard

    Illinois: Bustos, Casten, Davis, Foster, Garcia, Kelly, Lipinski, Rush, Schakowsky, Schneider

    Indiana: Carson

    Iowa: Steve King, Loebsack

    Kansas: Davids

    Kentucky: Barr, Yarmuth

    Louisiana: Graves (co-author)

    Maine: Golden, Pingree

    Maryland: Brown, Raskin, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Trone

    Massachusetts: Kennedy (co-author), Keating, Lynch, McGovern, Moulton, Pressley, Trahan

    Michigan: Dingell, Kildee, Andy Levin, Slotkin, Tlaib

    Minnesota: Craig, Peterson, Phillips

    Mississippi: Thompson

    Nevada: Horsford, Lee, Titus

    New Hampshire: Kuster, Pappas

    New Jersey: Gottheimer, Kim, Malinowski, Pallone, Pascrell Jr., Payne Jr., Sires, Chris Smith, Van Drew

    New Mexico: Haaland

    New York: Clarke, Delgado, Engel, Espaillat, Higgins, Katko, Sean Patrick Maloney, Meeks, Morelle, Rice, Suozzi, Tonko, Velazquez

    North Carolina: Adams, Butterfield

    Northern Marianas: Sablan

    Ohio: Beatty

    Oregon: Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio

    Pennsylvania: Boyle, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Wild

    Puerto Rico: Gonzalez-Colon

    Rhode Island: Ciciline

    Tennessee: Cohen

    Texas: Allred, Castro, Doggett, Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Green, Jackson-Lee, Veasey, Vela

    Vermont: Welch

    Virginia: Beyer, Connolly, Luria, McEachin, Spanberger, Wexton

    Washington: DelBene, Heck, Jayapal, Larsen, Schrier, Adam Smith

    Wisconsin: Kind, Moore

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    With Your Participation - We can Reach This Goal! see more

    UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, President Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion emergency stimulus package passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the day.

    Final approval of the emergency stimulus package means $88 million will be forwarded to Peace Corps to assist with the cost of evacuating 7,300 volunteers from 61 countries and support initial transition assistance.

    "This funding reinforces the federal commitment to the Peace Corps, and we are grateful for this action to support the agency and its Volunteers during this difficult time", said National Peace Corps Association president and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "While this package addresses critical short-term issues, we continue to work with Congress as the evacuated RPCVs will face additional challenges in the coming weeks and months."

    NPCA is already in communication with congressional offices to discuss next steps for an anticipated next round of legislation. Congress needs to hear from you. That's why we are asking you to take action now with your members of Congress to press for ongoing support for evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

    During this extraordinary moment, we require a committed response from the Peace Corps community and the broad, deep reservoir of everyday citizens who believe in the mission and goals of Peace Corps service.

     

    That's why we are issuing a challenge to mobilize and send 100,000 messages to Congress

    The final approval of this massive stimulus package is good news for Peace Corps. But our work doesn't end there. Numerous offices are indicating that the bill finalized on Friday—the third stimulus bill passed into law—will not be the last.

    Conversations are underway to make sure that future legislation addresses some of the longer term needs evacuees will likely face, including some form of joblessness support, extended health care support where needed, adequate mental health support, possible enhancements to Coverdell Fellowship programs for prospective graduate students, and possible domestic deployment opportunities so skilled Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can help fight the pandemic. 

    Beyond that, an ongoing mobilization is needed to remind our lawmakers and our fellow citizens that Peace Corps remains open and is preparing to re-deploy as soon as possible.

    In the days, weeks, and months ahead, take action! 

    Want to help coordinate advocacy efforts in your community/region? Contact us! advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org.

  • House legislation includes proposals for RPCV evacuees to continue service. see more

    New Peace Corps legislation continues to emerge to help evacuated Volunteers, this time in the House of Representatives. On April 30, Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Don Young (R-AK) announced the “Utilizing and Supporting Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers Act,” which addresses several issues to support present and future needs of evacuated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. The legislation is also supported by Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

    In a press release issued by Representative Phillips, National Peace Corps Association President Glenn Blumhorst notes that “At the heart of this legislation are initiatives to engage these volunteers in what they do best — opportunities to continue serving others, both here at home to contain and overcome the pandemic, and overseas as soon as conditions permit Peace Corps to redeploy.”

    ​​​The Phillips-Young legislation would:

    • Extend the opportunity for evacuated RPCVs to continue to purchase health insurance through Peace Corps beyond the current three months.
    • Instruct the Corporation for National and Community Service to expedite opportunities through which evacuated RPCVs can be assigned to programs aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic here at home.
    • Expedite opportunities for evacuated RPCVs to return to Peace Corps service once it is practicable for the agency to begin redeploying volunteers overseas.

    In light of the many lives being lost during the pandemic, the legislation also includes language of the no-cost, bi-partisan “Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act,” legislation that would allow the Peace Corps logo to be included on grave markers or in death notices.

     

    “At the heart of this legislation are initiatives to engage these volunteers in what they do best — opportunities to continue serving others, both here at home to contain and overcome the pandemic, and overseas as soon as conditions permit Peace Corps to redeploy.”
       — Glenn Blumhorst, President & CEO, National Peace Corps Association

     

    2020 Progress: Efforts to Help Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers

    National Peace Corps Association has been working with Congress on a variety of Peace Corps initiatives. The announcement of the Phillips-Young House legislation is the latest in a long string of positive steps to support Peace Corps and recent evacuees.

    • Evacuee Unemployment Compensation Confirmed (April 28): The U.S. Labor Department issued guidelines which confirmed evacuated RPCVs are eligible for unemployment under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act. Read more here.
       
    • National Health Corps Letter (April 21): In a letter to House leadership, Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Bill Foster (D-IL) propose the creation of a National Health Corps to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically referencing evacuated RPCVs as a resource. Read more here.
       
    • Markey Legislation (April 13): Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced legislation that seeks to mobilize U.S. citizens — especially evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers — to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
       
    • Record Senate Funding Letter (April 10): A record 42 Senators signed the annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. Led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the letter requests robust funding for Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2021, which begins October 1. Read more here.
       
    • Murphy Legislation (April 3): Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced legislation to address unemployment and health care benefits for Peace Corps evacuees, expand service opportunities, and promote the return of Peace Corps programs overseas. Read more here.
       
    • Bi-Cameral Letters (April 2): Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) led joint Senate/House letters on the need for evacuees to have jobless protections and the need for evacuees to have opportunities to utilize their skills to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
       
    • Peace Corps Stimulus (March 27): Congress passed and President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to respond to the pandemic. Included in that package was $88 million to cover the evacuation of 7,300 volunteers and provide initial readjustment support for the evacuees. Read more here.
       
    • House Peace Corps Funding Letter (March 13): A bi-partisan group of 167 lawmakers signed a House Peace Corps funding letter requesting $450 million for Peace Corps in fiscal year 2021. The letter was issued by leaders of the Peace Corps Caucus RPCVs John Garamendi (D-CA) and Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), and Representative Garrett Graves (R-LA). Read more here.
       
    • Capitol Hill Advocacy Day (March 5): More than 200 members of the Peace Corps community conducted more than 220 meetings on Capitol Hill during NPCA’s 16th annual National Days of Action in Support of the Peace Corps. We were joined by 35 Peace Corps Volunteers from China, evacuated five weeks earlier, to speak to the importance of their work. See photo album here.
       
    • Former Directors Support Independence (January 7): NPCA issued a letter authored and signed by ten former Peace Corps directors opposing Senate legislation to place Peace Corps under the authority of the State Department. Read more here.

     


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    Story Updated 01 May 2020 11 a.m.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    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

     

    Senators who signed the Feinstein-Collins Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Letter (List of Current Signers Below)

    Arizona: Sinema

    California: Feinstein (co-author), Harris

    Connecticut: Blumenthal, Murphy

    Colorado: Bennet

    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

    Nevada: Rosen

    New Hampshire: Hassan, Shaheen

    New Jersey: Booker, Menendez

    New Mexico: Heinrich, Udall

    New York: Gillibrand

    North Carolina: Tillis

    Ohio: Brown

    Oregon: Merkley, Wyden

    Rhode Island: Reed, Whitehouse

    Vermont: Sanders

    Virginia: Kaine, Warner

    Washington: Cantwell

    West Virginia: Manchin

    Wisconsin: Baldwin

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    It is time to Protect Peace Corps - Like Never Before see more

    As Congress continues to develop legislation to provide emergency relief related to the coronavirus, it is imperative that the needs of Peace Corps - and its approximately 7,000 evacuated volunteers - are also taken into account.

     

    Your Action is Urgently Needed:

     

    National Peace Corps Association posted this new action which is directed at all Senators and members of the House of Representatives.  The action urges financial support for Peace Corps to cover the extraordinary costs associated with the global suspension of programs.

    It also urges support to address the many financial, health and other support needs evacuated volunteers are facing as they come home.

    Peace Corps has taken an initial step in addressing these needs, announcing that payment of its post-service insurance offering to volunteers will be extended from 30 days to 60 days.

    UPDATE: The White House has requested $73 million in additional funding for Peace Corps to assist with costs in bringing volunteers home.

    UPDATE: In your letters, include the number of recently serving volunteers from your state.

     

    Go Beyond Your Letters to Congress

    The congressional action will allow you to:

    • Edit the message and personalize it, speaking to your Peace Corps experience.
    • Send a tweet to your lawmakers.
    • Reach well beyond the immediate Peace Corps community to ask other family, friends and neighbors to help protect the Peace Corps.
    • Craft and submit a local letter to the editor urging support for Peace Corps and its evacuated volunteers.

    Thank you so much for taking action as we embark on a new, challenging chapter to protect the Peace Corps and support returned volunteers.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    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.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Agency slated to receive $410 million for fifth consecutive year see more

    After weeks of negotiations, Congress approved and President Trump signed a $1.4 trillion federal spending bill for the current fiscal year (FY 2020) that includes level funding of $410.5 million for Peace Corps.

    The House of Representatives approved the spending package on December 17th, while the Senate ratified the package on December 19th. President Trump signed the legislation on December 20th, the day when a continuing resolution to keep the government operating was set to expire.

    While we realize our lawmakers have many difficult decisions before them when putting together our federal budget, it is disappointing they chose to flat fund Peace Corps once again,” said NPCA President Glenn Blumhorst. “Other than a very minimal – one tenth of one percent increase in spending last year, this will mark the fifth consecutive year that Peace Corps will be forced to manage its operations with the same amount of funding. When inflation is factored in, the agency will need to sustain operations with tens of millions of dollars less in purchasing power. Peace Corps is already experiencing negative impacts, at a time when the needs and importance of international service is as important as ever.”

    While Congress only funded Peace Corps at current levels, it rejected the Trump Administration’s recommendation to cut funding by more than $14 million. The president has proposed cutting Peace Corps’ budget each of the past three years.

    Read more about congressional action on the federal budget by clicking here. Read more about FY 2020 funding for international affairs programs by clicking here.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Did your affiliate group sign this year's letter? see more

    With a new federal fiscal year underway and Congress yet to determine if Peace Corps funding will get an increase or continue to remain stagnant, it may seem strange to be turning any attention to the next budget cycle. But within the executive branch, staff at the Office of Management and Budget are hard at work preparing their recommendations for Congress for the 2021 Fiscal Year budget, which the president will present to Congress early next year.

    Since 2013, NPCA has responded by seeking the assistance of our affiliate groups to bring the voice of the Peace Corps community to the White House. This is done in the form of an affiliate group sign-on letter urging the president to request strong funding for the Peace Corps.

    Affiliate group leaders responded forcefully this year, 124 group representatives signed the letter, representing more than 68,000 of their members. That's a new record, surpassing the 115 group signatures collected in 2013.

    This year's letter highlights the announcement made earlier this year to begin a program in Montenegro, and points to the ongoing desire from foreign countries to establish or increase Peace Corps programs. It highlights Peace Corps' significant role in supporting the Trump administration's Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. At the same time, it also expresses disappointment that the president's previous three budget requests have called for Peace Corps funding cuts, a presidential recommendation not seen in over four decades.

    You can read the annual NPCA affiliate group letter to the president here.

    Our thanks to the many affiliate groups and leaders who joined together in common cause.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We are mobilizing to engage the 110 House Reps who voted to eliminate Peace Corps funding in FY 2020 see more

    Last month, the House of Representatives voted 315 - 110 to reject an amendment introduced by Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) that would have slashed more than $19 billion from our international assistance programs, including the complete elimination of funding for the Peace Corps in Fiscal Year 2020.

    More than 9,000 members of National Peace Corps Association's advocacy network took action to turn back this ill-conceived amendment. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to educate the 110 members of Congress who voted in favor.
     

    How Did Your Representative Vote? Find out here.

     

    IF YOU LIVE IN A DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTED IN RED, WE NEED YOU TO GET INVOLVED 

     

    Mobilization Underway

    Last week, NPCA president Glenn Blumhorst traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina where he was joined by four RPCV constituents of Congressman Walker to meet with district office staff. The group expressed strong disappointment for the introduction of the amendment, which if passed, would have abruptly ended the service for 170 serving Peace Corps Volunteers from North Carolina, including 14 from the congressman's district. The group shared how their Peace Corps service benefits the district and the state, and how Peace Corps provides a strong return each year on our nation's $410 million annual investment.

    That's not all.

    • On June 27th,  NPCA Advocacy Director Jonathan Pearson and PCV constituent Ed Seiders met with the the Tulsa district office staff of Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern to express dismay in Congressman Hern's vote in support of the Walker amendment.
       
    • On July 3rd, Northeast Indiana Advocacy Coordinator Faith Van Gilder attended a town hall meeting with Congressman Jim Banks and questioned him about his vote for the Walker amendment, and his own amendment that would have cut spending for Peace Corps and other international affairs programs for Fiscal Year 2020.
       
    • In West Virginia, state advocacy coordinator Scott King wrote a letter to the editor praising one member and criticizing two others for their votes on the Walker amendment. Similar action was taken in South Dakota, as this letter by RPCVs Tom Katus and Michael Saba was published.
       

    Time to Take Action and Educate Congress on the Critical Importance of the Peace Corps

    While the vote on the amendment was rejected, it is important for you to engage and educate lawmakers on the critical importance to protect the Peace Corps.

    Send A Letter to Your Representative

     

    Contact us at advocacy@peacecorpsconnect.org and we will work with you to take additional action.

  • Ana Victoria Cruz posted an article
    The bill would provide additional federal funding and resources to advance Peace Corps’ mission. see more

    Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456), with bipartisan support. The bill’s original cosponsors include Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA) and Garret Graves (R-LA)—co-chairs of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus with Congressman Garamendi—and Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), and Donna E. Shalala (D-FL).

    The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) would provide additional federal funding and resources to advance the Peace Corps’ mission around the world and better support current, returning, and former Peace Corps volunteers.

    Representatives Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-1968), Kennedy (Dominican Republic 2004-2006), and Shalala (Iran 1962-1964) are returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Representative Radewagen was a former Peace Corps staffer (Northern Mariana Islands 1967-1968).

    “My wife Patti and I owe so much to our service in the Peace Corps. It inspired a lifetime of service that began in Ethiopia during the late 1960s and continued into state government in California, the Clinton Administration, and now the U.S. Congress,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA). “Now more than ever, Congress must support the Peace Corps’ mission and realize President Kennedy’s vision of generations of young Americans ready to serve their nation and make the world a better place. Our reauthorization bill does exactly that, and I thank my fellow Peace Corps Caucus co-chairs and Congressional colleagues for their support as original cosponsors.”

    “At a time of unrest and uncertainty the world over, the Peace Corps embodies the very best of what America has to offer: service to others for the common cause of peace, progress, and democratic ideals. The Peace Corps Authorization Act will strengthen our country’s commitment to that mission and ensure future generations are prepared to defend this nation’s most sacred values,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA).  

    “The Peace Corps has been exporting American values for almost six decades, promoting her spirit and sowing seeds of freedom in nations across the world through its work-based service program,” said Congressman Garret Graves, Co-chair of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus. “Peace Corps volunteers – like the program itself – give more than they take and continue to deliver to taxpayers a compounded return on investment,” said Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA).

    “Since its inception, the Peace Corps has used America's greatest strength - its people - to build civil society and mutual respect between our country and the people of the world. This was true when I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and it is true today. We must continue to fully fund the Peace Corps in order to preserve this vital instrument of American values and democracy,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL).

    “My work with the Peace Corps was a special time in my life, and good preparation for keeping the right priorities through the years,” said Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS). “The Peace Corps is a proven program that has helped people now for so long. This is an important effort to reauthorize and strengthen the Peace Corps, while encouraging a culture of serving others and volunteering.”

    “As the Peace Corps celebrates its 58th anniversary this year, this comprehensive reauthorization bill will expand support for former and current Peace Corps volunteers and enable the Peace Corps to continue its important contribution to our global diplomacy efforts,” said Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ). “I am glad that my bill, the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act, is included in this reauthorization, allowing those who have been a part of the Peace Corps to proudly display the insignia.”

    “National Peace Corps Association is delighted to endorse the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Congressman John Garamendi. In addition to calling for robust funding and a number of other important provisions, this legislation makes fiscally prudent strides in improving the Peace Corps’ commitment to the wellbeing of Volunteers disabled during their national service abroad,” said Glenn Blumhorst, President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association. “We thank Congressmen Garamendi for his continued commitment to the Peace Corps mission by drafting this Reauthorization which would both improve the benefits of our American Volunteers and enhance the agency’s ability to complete its legislative mandate.”

    The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) would:

    • Authorize $450 million in yearly funding for the Peace Corps, an increase over the flat $410 million funding level provided by Congress in recent years.
    • Direct the Peace Corps to establish new volunteer opportunities that promote Internet technology-adoption in developing countries and engage tech-savvy American volunteers.
    • Increase monthly allowances for Peace Corps volunteers and leaders to $417 per month of service completed, to reflect increases in cost of living over the past several decades and provide $10,000 for a full 2-year term of service. The current monthly allowance is $350 per month, as ordered administratively by the Peace Corps Director.
    • Include the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act (H.R.1411) sponsored by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) since 2013.
    • Extend Peace Corps volunteers’ 12-month hiring preference for most federal job openings during any federal hiring freeze, government shutdown, or while a volunteer receives federal worker’s compensation benefits for any injury during their Peace Corps service.
    • Require the Peace Corps and U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to routinely update their existing Memorandum of Agreement for Peace Corps volunteer security support and protection, in foreign countries.
    • Increase the federal workers’ compensation rate for all Peace Corps volunteers injured or disabled during their service from a GS-7 to a GS-11 level, the same rate provided for Peace Corps volunteers with dependent children under current law.

    The bipartisan bill builds upon the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-256). Congress last reauthorized the Peace Corps in 1999 (Public Law 106-30), which expired at the end of fiscal year 2003. The Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456) currently awaits action by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

     Ask Your Representative to Cosponsor H.R. 3456

    Source: https://garamendi.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-garamendi-introduces-bipartisan-peace-corps-reauthorization-act

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Peace Corps was one of a number of international affairs programs on the chopping block see more

    Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives came together Tuesday evening to soundly reject a proposal to re-allocate foreign assistance funding in Fiscal Year 2020, including the elimination of all House funds slated for the Peace Corps. 

    An amendment to the State/Foreign Operations funding package to cut just over $19 billion in foreign assistance programs was defeated by a vote of 315 to 110. 81 House Republicans joined 234 House Democrats to defeat the amendment.

    In bringing forth the amendment last week, Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) argued that funds needed to be re-allocated, to compensate for an earlier House vote to provide $19 billion to fund disaster relief assistance around the country. Included in his amendment was the complete elimination of $425 million proposed for the Peace Corps for the fiscal year that begins in October. 

    "We must prioritize our domestic needs first," Walker said during debate on his amendment last Thursday.

    "How are these cuts in our national interest?", countered House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). Lowey referenced Peace Corps Volunteers in her remarks, saying "7,200 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving as excellent representatives of the United States."

     

    Peace Corps Community Response

    Over the last several days, members and friends of the Peace Corps community sent at least 9,000 communications to their House representatives. Every House member heard from at least one constituent on this issue, and nearly 70 percent of House members received ten or more communications - in some cases, many, many more!

    "We applaud the strong, bipartisan rejection of this ill-conceived amendment," said National Peace Corps Association President Glenn Blumhorst. "I thank all NPCA members and friends of the Peace Corps community who spoke with one voice about the value of Peace Corps - not just for people around the world, but also for communities here at home when returning volunteers continue their commitment to serving others."
     

    How Did Your Representative Vote?

    Follow this link to see if your House Rep was among the 315 members who voted to defeat the Walker amendment.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    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.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    You took action - Your members of Congress responded see more

    Each spring, the Peace Corps community mobilizes to support letters issued in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging robust funding for the Peace Corps.

    Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking for an increase in Peace Corps funding, and the Peace Corps community responded. The Dear Colleague letter, an official correspondence sent by Members of Congress to encourage others to support or oppose a bill, received a record 41 signatures this year. That number surpassed the previous high of 37 signatures, achieved in both 2009 and 2018. 

    Coupled with a record breaking House Dear Colleague letter and its 181 signatures, a combined 222 lawmakers, representing 41 percent of Congress (also a new record), demonstrated strong support for the Peace Corps. With such a high number of signatures, it is more likely that Congress will include an increase in Peace Corps's budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year.

    To read the Senate letter, follow this link.

    If you Senator(s) are listed below, follow this link to call or write them to thank them for signing the bi-partisan Isakson-Feinstein Peace Corps funding letter!

     

    Senators who signed the Isakson-Feinstein Peace Corps Funding Letter

     

    ARIZONA

    Kyrsten Sinema

     

    CALIFORNIA

    Dianne Feinstein (co-author)

     

    COLORADO

    Michael Bennet

     

    CONNECTICUT

    Richard Blumenthal

    Chris Murphy

     

    DELAWARE

    Tom Carper

    Chris Coons

     

    GEORGIA

    Johnny Isakson (co-author)

     

    HAWAII

    Mazie Hirono

    Brian Schatz

     

    ILLINOIS

    Tammy Duckworth

     

    MAINE

    Susan Collins

    Angus King

     

    MARYLAND

    Ben Cardin

    Chris Van Hollen

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    Ed Markey

    Eliabeth Warren

     

    MICHIGAN

    Gary Peters

    Debbie Stabenow

     

    MINNESOTA

    Amy Klobuchar

    Tina Smith

     

    MONTANA

    Jon Tester

     

    NEVADA 

    Catherine Cortez Masto

    Jacky Rosen

     

    NEW HAMPSHIRE

    Maggie Hassan

    Jeanne Shaheen

     

    NEW JERSEY

    Cory Booker

    Robert Menendez

     

    NEW MEXICO

    Martin Heinrich

     

    NEW YORK

    Kirsten Gillibrand

     

    NORTH CAROLINA

    Thom Tillis

     

    OHIO

    Sherrod Brown

     

    OREGON

    Jeff Merkley

    Ron Wyden

     

    RHODE ISLAND

    Jack Reed

     

    VERMONT

    Bernie Sanders

     

    VIRGINIA

    Tim Kaine

    Mark Warner

     

    WASHINGTON

    Maria Cantwell

     

    WEST VIRGINIA

    Joe Manchin

     

    WISCONSIN

    Tammy Baldwin

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    A Dear Colleague letter critical to the fate of Peace Corps funding is circulating in Congress see more

    We will need strong support from the House of Representatives in order to see a Peace Corps funding increase in the fiscal year that begins next October (FY 2020).

    Here's why.

    Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and Garret Graves (R-LA) are circulating their annual Peace Corps funding letter. This letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations asks that Peace Corps funding for FY 2020 be increased by nearly ten percent, to $450 million. This increase would follow four consecutive years of flat funding for the Peace Corps.

    This letter carries great weight because of the high number of signatures it normally receives. Those signatures don’t come easy, and don’t happen without your involvement.

    As this year's letter winds down, we have surpassed last year's record of 180 signatures. Congratulations!

     

    TAKE ACTION - 3 SIMPLE STEPS

     

     

     

     

    The following members of the House of Representatives have signed the Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. Contact them and say thank you!

     

    (Last updated Thursday, March 28th, 2:00 PM - Please bookmark this page and return for regular updates!)

     

    Current Number of Signatures: 181
     

    ALABAMA

    • Terri Sewell

     

    ALASKA

    • Don Young

     

    AMERICAN SAMOA

    • Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen

     

    ARIZONA

    • Ruben Gallego
    • Raul Grijalva

     

    CALIFORNIA

    • Karen Bass
    • Ami Bera
    • Julia Brownley
    • Salud Carbajal
    • Tony Cardenas
    • Judy Chu
    • Gilbert Cisneros
    • Jim Costa
    • Susan Davis
    • Mark Desaulnier
    • Anna Eshoo
    • John Garamendi (co-author)
    • Jimmy Gomez
    • Katie Hill
    • Ro Khanna
    • Doug LaMalfa
    • Barbara Lee
    • Mike Levin
    • Ted Lieu
    • Zoe Lofgren
    • Alan Lowenthal
    • Doris Matsui
    • Jerry McNerney
    • Grace Napolitano
    • Jimmy Panetta
    • Scott Peters
    • Katie Porter
    • Harley Rouda
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard
    • Linda Sanchez
    • Adam Schiff
    • Jackie Speier
    • Eric Swalwell
    • Mark Takano
    • Juan Vargas
    • Maxine Waters

     

    COLORADO

    • Diana DeGette
    • Joe Neguse
    • Ed Perlmutter

     

    CONNECTICUT

    • Joe Courtney
    • Rosa DeLauro
    • Jahana Hayes
    • Jim Himes
    • John Larson

     

    DELAWARE

    • Lisa Blunt Rochester

     

    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

    • Eleanor Holmes Norton

     

    FLORIDA

    • Kathy Castor
    • Ted Deutch
    • Alcee Hastings
    • Al Lawson
    • Stephanie Murphy
    • Donna Shalala
    • Darren Soto
    • Frederica Wilson

     

    GEORGIA

    • Sanford Bishop
    • Hank Johnson
    • John Lewis
    • David Scott

     

    GUAM

    • Michael F.Q. San Nicolas

     

    HAWAII

    • Tulsi Gabbard

     

    ILLINOIS

    • Cheri Bustos
    • Sean Casten
    • Danny Davis
    • Bill Foster
    • Jesus Garcia
    • Robin Kelly
    • Daniel Lipinski
    • Bobby Rush
    • Jan Schakowsky
    • Brad Schneider

     

    INDIANA

    • Andre Carson

     

    IOWA

    • Cynthia Axne
    • Dave Loebsack

     

    KENTUCKY

    • Andy Barr
    • John Yarmuth

     

    LOUISIANA

    • Garrett Graves (co-author)
    • Cedric Richmond

     

    MAINE

    • Jared Golden
    • Chellie Pingree

     

    MARYLAND

    • Anthony Brown
    • Elijah Cummings
    • Jamie Raskin
    • Dutch Ruppersberger
    • John Sarbanes
    • David Trone

     

    MASSACHUSETTS

    • William Keating
    • Joseph Kennedy III (co-author)
    • Stephen Lynch
    • James McGovern
    • Seth Moulton
    • Richard Neal
    • Ayanna Pressley
    • Lori Trahan

     

    MICHIGAN

    • Debbie Dingell
    • Dan Kildee
    • Andy Levin
    • Elissa Slotkin

     

    MINNESOTA

    • Angie Craig
    • Jim Hagedorn
    • Collin Peterson

     

    MISSISSIPPI

    • Bennie Thompson

     

    MISSOURI

    • Emanuel Cleaver

     

    NEVADA

    • Susie Lee
    • Dina Titus

     

    NEW HAMPSHIRE

    • Ann McLane Kuster
    • Chris Pappas

     

    NEW JERSEY

    • Josh Gottheimer
    • Andy Kim
    • Tom Malinowski
    • Donald Norcross
    • Bill Pascrell Jr.
    • Frank Pallone Jr. 
    • Donald Payne Jr.
    • Mikie Sherrill
    • Albio Sires
    • Jeff Van Drew

     

    NEW MEXICO

    • Deb Haaland
    • Ben Ray Lujan

     

    NEW YORK

    • Yvette Clarke
    • Antonio Delgado
    • Eliot Engel
    • Adriano Espaillat
    • Brian Higgins
    • Hakeem Jeffries
    • John Katko
    • Carolyn Maloney
    • Sean Patrick Maloney
    • Gregory Meeks
    • Joseph Morelle
    • Jerry Nadler
    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    • Kathleen Rice
    • Thomas Suozzi
    • Paul Tonko
    • Nydia Velazquez

     

    NORTH CAROLINA

    • Alma Adams
    • G.K. Butterfield

     

    NORTHERN MARIANAS ISLANDS

    • Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

     

    OHIO

    • Joyce Beatty
    • Marcia Fudge

     

    OREGON

    • Earl Blumenauer
    • Suzanne Bonamici
    • Peter DeFazio

     

    PENNSYLVANIA

    • Brendan Boyle
    • Mike Doyle
    • Dwight Evans
    • Brian Fitzpatrick
    • Susan Wild

     

    PUERTO RICO

    • Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon

     

    RHODE ISLAND

    • David Cicilline
    • Jim Langevin

     

    TENNESSEE

    • Steve Cohen

     

    TEXAS

    • Colin Allred
    • Joaquin Castro
    • Lloyd Doggett
    • Veronica Escobar
    • Al Green
    • Sheila Jackson Lee
    • Eddie Bernice Johnson
    • Marc Veasey
    • Filemon Vela

     

    VERMONT

    • Peter Welch

     

    VIRGINIA

    • Don Beyer
    • Gerald Connolly
    • Donald McEachin
    • Bobby Scott
    • Abigail Spanberger
    • Jennifer Wexton

     

    WASHINGTON

    • Suzan DelBene
    • Denny Heck
    • Pramila Jayapal
    • Rick Larsen
    • Kim Schrier
    • Adam Smith

     

    WISCONSIN

    • Ron Kind
    • Gwen Moore