July 16, 2003 - Reuters: House passes Peace Corps Bill

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House passes Peace Corps Bill

Read and comment on this story from Reuters that the House of Representatives today passed HR 1950 which includes the "Peace Corps for the 21st Century" act that authorizes a gradual expansion of the Peace Corps, following Bush's call to double the number of volunteers to 14,000 by 2007.

Congratulations and thanks to the members of the House of Representatives that made this happen: Rep. Sam Farr, who introduced HR 250 in this session of Congress, Rep. Mark Udall who was an early and strong supporter of the bill, Rep. Betty McCollum who represented the bill in the House International Relations Committee, and Rep. Henry Hyde and Rep. Tom Lantos the chair and ranking members of the House International Relations Committee who hammered out the compromise that got this bill endorsed by the Committee and onto the floor of the House for passage. A special vote of thanks to the 28 members of the House of Representatives who signed on as co-sponsors to HR 250.

Today is a huge victory for the Peace Corps and for the Returned Volunteer community. Of course, this is not the final step. There are four more things that have to happen for this bill to be implemented. First, the Senate has to pass it's version of the Peace Corps bill in S925. Next Congress has to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill which differ in some significant areas. Third, the bill must be sent to the President for his signature - the White House already supports this bill and would like to sign it. And finally, this bill only authorizes the expenditures to double the size of the Peace Corps - an appropriations bill must be passed which actually allocates money to make it happen. Still today has been a big step and every Returned Volunteer and Friend of the Peace Corps who has worked hard over the past two years to see this bill become a law can take satisfaction in a job well done.

Read this story and then read the Press Release from Congressman Sam Farr's office on details of the Peace Corps Act that he spearheaded through Congress at:

House Passes Bill for International Programs*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

House Passes Bill for International Programs
Wed July 16, 2003 02:04 PM ET
By Vicki Allen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives on Wednesday cleared legislation authorizing some $30 billion for international programs, including a White House initiative to reward poor countries for economic and political reforms.

The House voted 382-42 for the two-year bill for the State Department and foreign aid programs, after giving narrow backing on Tuesday to President Bush's call to block funds to a U.N. agency that offers family planning help to the world's poorest women.

Bush contends the U.N. agency condones China's coercive population control program.

The outlook for the foreign relations bill is uncertain as Senate Republicans withdrew their version from the floor last week after it became bogged down in a dispute over raising the U.S. minimum wage.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said he hoped to bring the bill to the floor again.

The House bill calls for $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year starting on Oct. 1 for the Millennium Challenge Account, Bush's flagship foreign aid program intended to encourage poor countries to make reforms in exchange for assistance programs tailored to their needs.

Under the House bill, that program would rise to $3 billion in fiscal 2005, and $5 billion in 2006.

However, the House Appropriations Committee that writes bills to allocate money was considering a foreign aid measure with just $800 million for the program next fiscal year. Republicans on that committee argue that it is all that is needed in the program's start-up year.

The House bill also authorizes a gradual expansion of the Peace Corps, following Bush's call to double the number of volunteers to 14,000 by 2007. That would require boosting spending from $367 million next year to $499 million in 2007.

It establishes a new broadcasting network aimed at Middle East countries, expands U.S. broadcasts to Cuba and requires a report on efforts to counter Cuba's jamming of broadcasts.

The White House had several problems with the bill, complaining its requirement to hinge aid to Palestinians on their meeting certain standards ran counter to Bush's plan for Middle East peace. It also criticized the bill's call to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Farr Language on Peace Corps included in Foreign Relations Authorization Bill

Read more about the Language on the Peace Corps included in Foreign Relations Authorization Bill at:

Farr Language on Peace Corps included in Foreign Relations Authorization Bill


"The Peace Corps must strive to support world peace and mankind's survival," Rep. Farr says

(Washington, DC) - Longtime Peace Corps advocate and former volunteer, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) announced today that his proposals for Peace Corps Expansion, outlined in HR 250, were included in today's Foreign Relations Authorization Bill, that passed this afternoon.

"Since its inception in 1961, the Peace Corps has always helped people in developing nations to meet basic needs, promoted understanding of America's values and ideals abroad, and encouraged Americans to better understand their neighbors around the world," Rep. Farr said.

Farr's legislation codified President Bush's desire, articulated in the 2002 State of the Union, to double the size of the Peace Corps. The authorization in 2004 will be $367 million, to be increased to $412 million in 2005, with the goal of doubling the number of volunteers to 14,000 by 2007.

Other aspects of the legislation included in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act:

Restating the independence of the Peace Corps.

Asking for reports to Congress on new initiatives and security for Peace Corps volunteers.

Making a commitment to recruit and place Peace Corps volunteers in countries where they could help promote mutual understanding, particularly in areas with substantial Muslim populations.

Developing training programs for Peace Corps volunteers in areas of education and prevention of AIDS.

Streamlining and empowering the Peace Corps Advisory Council and creating a fund to promote the work of returned Peace Corps volunteers in fulfilling the third goal of the Peace Corps--to educate other Americans about their experience overseas.

Last year, Rep. Farr introduced the legislation into the House (H.R. 4979) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, introduced a similar bill in the Senate (S. 2667). The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent but was never given a hearing in the House. "I am happy to see that Congress has now made the commitment to increasing and improving the Peace Corps," said Farr. "Now more than ever, we need to promote volunteerism as a means of increasing international tolerance and understanding. There is no time to waste; the need for the Peace Corps has never been greater."

Friends of the Peace Corps in the House of Representatives- Co-sponsors to HR 250

Read the names of the Friends of the Peace Corps who signed on as supporters of HR 250 and the date they endorsed it at:

Rep Udall, Mark - 1/8/2003 [CO-2]

Rep Honda, Michael M. - 1/8/2003 [CA-15]

Rep McNulty, Michael R. - 1/28/2003 [NY-21]

Rep Blumenauer, Earl - 1/28/2003 [OR-3]

Rep Leach, James A. - 1/28/2003 [IA-2]

Rep Millender-McDonald, Juanita - 1/28/2003 [CA-37]

Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes - 1/28/2003 [DC]

Rep Eshoo, Anna G. - 1/28/2003 [CA-14]

Rep Lee, Barbara - 1/28/2003 [CA-9]

Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. - 1/28/2003 [GU]

Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice - 1/28/2003 [TX-30]

Rep Carson, Julia - 1/28/2003 [IN-7]

Rep Bell, Chris - 2/4/2003 [TX-25]

Rep Frost, Martin - 2/4/2003 [TX-24]

Rep Filner, Bob - 2/4/2003 [CA-51]

Rep McGovern, James P. - 2/4/2003 [MA-3]

Rep McCollum, Betty - 2/4/2003 [MN-4]

Rep Case, Ed - 2/4/2003 [HI-2]

Rep Grijalva, Raul M. - 2/4/2003 [AZ-7]

Rep Lofgren, Zoe - 2/25/2003 [CA-16]

Rep Sanders, Bernard - 2/25/2003 [VT]

Rep Rangel, Charles B. - 3/18/2003 [NY-15]

Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. - 3/18/2003 [IL-9]

Rep Kildee, Dale E. - 3/31/2003 [MI-5]

Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. - 3/31/2003 [CA-6]

Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. - 5/6/2003 [OH-10]

Rep Owens, Major R. - 5/6/2003 [NY-11]

Rep Baldwin, Tammy - 5/6/2003 [WI-2]

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A Volunteer's Courage

After Sara Evans was assaulted she left the Peace Corps and returned to the United States. But her ordeal was only beginning. Read about a volunteer's courage in this story.
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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Congress; Legislation



By bankass.com on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 12:39 am: Edit Post

Ok, I agree with more money, expansion and promoting the Peace Corps program.

However, have you have noticed that when alot of complaints go to Congress about Peace Corps such as the death of volunteers or how former volunteers are treated such as Sara Evans arise the Congress then it acts by allocating more funds and more personnel.

I agree with promoting the program, but I don't agree guising abuse and neglect of safety, health and attrition rates of volunteers. Quality is very important too.

As I always say, we need hearings. I would like to know the Circumstances of Zack Merrill's death in Mali? If it is not suspiciuos then please give some details in the coming month. Also, what is Peace Corps going to do about the Medical Serivice problem, for example the recent story of Sara Evans? When are two volunteer going to serve together at every site. Was Zack alone?

4,000 more volunteers going into service. Look at the claims, problems with Safety, Attrition and medical services responsiveness. How many of the 4,000 will serve and return well Sam?

Those questions are important too.

I hope there is change soon. Daniel

By James Olson on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 10:57 pm: Edit Post

Sorry to convey this, but...

The news I've heard from PVCs in Mali is that Zach committed suicide. Larium?

I didn't know him, but I'm disturbed by the news.


By RPCV on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 11:39 am: Edit Post

Scorpions bite at night?

By bankass.com on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 11:38 pm: Edit Post


That is really sad to hear. Thanks for passing on what you heard. I don't know how to react. Daniel

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