Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 7, 2004: Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview: Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?
Is there a Budget Crunch at Peace Corps? Is there a Budget Crunch at Peace Corps?
Read and comment on this memo from Peace Corps' General Counsel that explains the new policy for paying "cash in lieu" to Volunteers at their Completion of Service (COS). New RPCVs can still take the long way home, though they will likely have less money in their pockets because of the new policy. Peace Corps received $30 million more this year than in FY03 but is there a budget crunch now at Peace Corps? What do you think of the new policy?

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 12:56 pm: Edit Post

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

PCOL: I have heard that this year there has been a budget crunch at Peace Corps and that the agency has cut back in some areas to save money. Has there been a budget crunch this year and if so what was it due to?

GV: The Peace Corps is managed within the resources that Congress appropriates. So, as Congress has appropriated, we have fulfilled our obligations and staffing requirements. We have placed the highest priority on ensuring that field operations are sustained and maintained at levels that make certain volunteers are getting the support they need.

It is fair to say that there have been some areas where we have increased the level of spending, particularly in the area of safety and security. Therefore, I wouldn't view it as a budget crunch, but rather, managing your priorities. Part of managing the budget and an agency like the Peace Corps is looking at the priorities, finding what the needs are, and then funding those accordingly.

PCOL: I know that there was a Continuing Resolution this year and that Peace Corps didn't get its funding until January of 2004, when normally the fiscal year starts October 1. Were you counting on the $359 million that the President had proposed and was that an issue in placing volunteers overseas?

GV: We look at the appropriations process the way that it was intended. First, we recognize that a continuing resolution is always a possibility. So consequently, we plan and evaluate circumstances and conditions. Whether it is a re-entry, an entry into a new country, or the expansion of a program, we have to create the balance that the situation requires. When there is what we call a CR, we have to make adjustments because at that point there is no guarantee of what the level of funding will be, other than the knowledge that funding will be at the previous year's level. You have to operate within those constraints. We did that and will always do that because that is the right and prudent way to manage.

 Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

On the other hand, the challenge of a lengthy continuing resolution is that recruitment operates on a cyclical basis and any extended delays in funding provide some setbacks in recruitment. You can't really go out and recruit or issue invitations to trainees and then face a situation where you dis-invite someone. You don't want to go down that path, and we have never had to do that in the time I have been director of the Peace Corps.

PCOL: President Bush says he supports doubling the size of the Peace Corps and his party controls both the House and the Senate. Candidate Kerry says he supports tripling the size of the Peace Corps so obviously there is a strong bipartisan support for the agency. With this support, why did the President receive $50 million less this year than what he asked for and what do you think the prospects are for higher Peace Corps budgets in the future?

GV: On the issue of appropriation levels, we do the best job that we can to present our program and expansion opportunities to Congress. Congress then makes the determination as to what our appropriations level will be. I might add that while the funding over the last two years has not been at the requested levels - the fact of the matter is that they have been at a historic high for the Peace Corps. So, it shows a level of willingness on the part of Congress to increase the funding, even if it is not to the level we have requested. However, we will continue to make the case that the Peace Corps is well positioned to expand and that there is a supply and a demand for Americans who are willing to serve in a number of countries that would like to have programs.

Read our interview with Director Vasquez in this month's issue of PCOL Magazine:

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.

Read the questions and answers and leave your comments.

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Story Source: PCOL Exclusive

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez; Congress; Legislation; Appropriations; Budget



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