More Peace Corps may be in the stars — and the budget.
Yesterday evening, Jonathan Pearson of the National Peace Corps Association’s Advocacy Program announced that According to Congressman Sam Farr, speaking tonight at an event in Washington to celebrate the Peace Corps, negotiations on the State/Foreign Operations Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bill have closed.
Farr says the final bill contains $400 million for Peace Corps — an impressive figure that falls in between what the House ($450M) and the Senate ($373M) recommended for the Peace Corps appropriation.
The Peace Corps Polyglot yesterday sounded optimistic that because of the amount of work that Congress needs to get done by December 18th, the $400 million figure is not likely to be amended.
Peace Corps advocacy groups like the National Peace Corps Association‘s More Peace Corps campaign, and the informal group Push for Peace Corps have been urging Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and other supporters to contact their elected representatives this week to voice their support for expanded Peace Corps funding.
Yesterday the NPCA sent a letter to President Obama asking him to increase his suggested Peace Corps budget for his 2011 budget request. That letter was signed by almost 60 RPCV affiliate groups.
Rep. Nita Lowey, Chair, House Appropriations Cmte
A few weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee recommended increasing Peace Corps funding to $450 million. Thursday, the House voted to approve funding at that level. The same day, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to match Obama’s more modest $373.4M budget request for the agency.
While the Corporation for National and Community Service — the agency that coordinates and oversees the AmeriCorps family of service programs — had a disappointing day in a House subcommittee yesterday, Peace Corps won a huge increase in funding as its supporters in the House defeated an amendment that would have only moderately increased funding for the agency in the fiscal year 2010.
The increase — if matched in the Senate — would mean Peace Corps could start ramping up Volunteer numbers, as Obama has called for doubling Peace Corps by the agency’s 50th anniversary in 2011.
According to the National Peace Corps Association’s blog the Peace Corps Polyglot: Continue reading
Show your support for More Peace Corps at a rally in Washington, DC, tomorrow from 2-4 pm at Freedom Plaza.
Hundreds of former Peace Corps volunteers will come together tomorrow to remind President Obama of his campaign pledge to build a Peace Corps of 16,000 volunteers by 2011, the 50th anniversary of the agency.
The rally will culminate with a march to the White House, led by Tim Shriver — CEO of Special Olympics International and son of Peace Corps’s founding director Sargent Shriver. Leamer, a speaker at the event as well as one of its organizers, insists the event isn’t anti-Obama, but a friendly reminder to honor his own campaign promise.
The event will feature music from an 22-woman Brazilian drumming group Batala, Peruvian flutist Juan Cayrampoma and the American rock-n-roll band Cairo Fred.
In addition to Tim Shriver, event speakers will include:
As the Serve America Act becomes law, it offers no support of Peace Corps. Legislation to increase the capacity of Peace Corps was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
A fish farming family
In mid-February, Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1066, the Peace Corps Expansion Act of 2009. The legislation calls for gradually increased funding for Peace Corps (up to $750 million in 2012), enabling more Volunteers to serve, and increasing the amount of the readjustment allowance Volunteers receive at the end of their service term.
13,011 Americans applied in 2008 to volunteer their service in the Peace Corps, a 16 percent increase over the 11,246 applications received in 2007. While applications to Peace Corps and other service corps are seeing record numbers, Peace Corps has funding for 400 fewer Volunteers this year (compared with 2008), and is reportedly offering one-year deferrals to candidates.
(In 1966, according to the Boston Globe, 15,000 Peace Corps Volunteers served in the field.)
According to the Boston Globe article about Peace Corps from this past weekend, former Peace Corps Country Director Mark Gearan said, “We spend more on the military marching bands. …This is 1 percent of 1 percent [of the federal budget]. There’s Continue reading