October 1, 2005: Headlines:Congress: Appropriations: Budget: Palm Beach Post: Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding

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Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding

 Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding

"This program's long-term benefits to the federal government are limited and keeping volunteers safe is becoming more and more difficult and expensive," the committee report said about the Peace Corps.

Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding

Forever changed: How this year's killer storms will alter America

By Frank Cerabino

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have become much more than just the most expensive disasters in American history. They're the new looking glass, much like Sept. 11 was, showing us a future of surprising challenges and tough choices.

They have become, in a sense, a fresh way to hash out old grievances from tax policy to race relations to the war in Iraq.

In the long run, they could be the precipitous blows to the future of Medicare, a NASA mission to Mars and maybe even the sport utility vehicle. In the short run, they make us more than a little uneasy about our ability to handle not only the threat of terror but other hurricanes, which are predicted to occur at a heightened pace for the next 10 years or so.

Katrina and Rita may have directly affected a relatively small geographical area of America, but the disquieting aftermath of these storms has already reordered national priorities, ignited national fears and carved out another starting line to measure change.

Already, the Republican-led Congress has begun plans to use the costly hurricanes to make sweeping reductions in federal spending that will be felt across America.

The U.S. House of Representatives Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 100 members, produced a 24-page report called Operation Offset, a blueprint for cutting $949 billion in federal spending during the next 10 years.

Among their recommendations:

Make significant cuts to Medicare by delaying the prescription drug benefit; impose co-pays on home health services; shift cost-sharing burdens more to patients.

Limit financial support for U.N. peacekeeping operations; spend less on the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative; freeze funding for the Peace Corps. "This program's long-term benefits to the federal government are limited and keeping volunteers safe is becoming more and more difficult and expensive," the committee report said about the Peace Corps.

Cancel NASA's Mars Initiative, which the president announced last year, to save an estimated $44 billion.

Eliminate Department of Energy grants to state and local governments for energy conservation and water quality improvement.

Reduce subsidies to Amtrak. "Significant savings could be achieved by ceasing to operate a few very expensive long-distance routes, which serve a limited ridership, and continuing to offer only profitable services as a business would," the report said.

Eliminate subsidized loans to graduate students; eliminate the Leveraging Educational Assistance Program, a grant program for needy college students.

End support for AmeriCorps, the domestic community service program. "Many participants receive a living stipend, health insurance and child care, making it more like a job than volunteerism," the report said.

Eliminate federal anti-drug advertising aimed at young people; eliminate Safe and Drug-Free Schools grants to states. "Studies show that schools are among the safest places in the country and relatively drug free," the report said.

Eliminate federal support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Slash the budget of the Centers for Disease Control by 25 percent; eliminate the program that pays for poor teenagers to get reduced-priced contraceptives; level grants to Community Health Centers, which provide health care to the poor.

Under the heading of "Corporate Welfare," the congressional panel proposed:

Eliminating the federal program that funds research for renewable sources of energy; scrapping the Clean Coal Technology program; and eliminating the FreedomCAR Program, which is a federal energy program to develop energy-efficient cars.

Eliminating the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which was nicknamed "freedom fuel" and touted by President Bush during his State of the Union address two years ago as a way to avoid dependence on foreign oil. "Elimination of this initiative will produce significant overall savings," the report said. "Furthermore, private industry is better equipped to develop future fuel technologies with the free market."

In its cost-cutting frenzy, Congress would be eliminating the programs designed to ease America's dependence on crude oil as a way to pay for the damage caused by hurricanes that highlighted America's dependence on crude oil.

When this story was posted in September 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 4 2005 No: 725 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Mark Shriver of Save the Children says it will assist rural communities it serves in rebuilding. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Ohio Governor Bob Taft (RPCV Tanzania) says students displaced by "Katrina" can enroll in Ohio Colleges and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (RPCV Tunisia) is sending soldiers to help residents of Louisiana. Do you know what it means to lose New Orleans? Contact your local Red Cross to Volunteer.

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Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 23 2005 No: 714 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Latest: Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. RPCVs: Read our poll results.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: August 25 2005 No: 717 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger.

Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC Date: August 20 2005 No: 710 Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC
Peace Corps Fund announces Sept 29 Fund Raiser in NYC
High Atlas Foundation Hosts a Reception in NYC on Sept 15
Jody Olsen to address Maryland RPCVs at Sept 17 picnic
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
"Iowa in Ghana" at "The Octogan" in Ames through October 7
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October
RPCV's exhibit at Museum of Man in San Diego thru May 2006

Top Stories: August 20, 2005 Date: August 20 2005 No: 711 Top Stories: August 20, 2005
Jack Crandall writes "Memories relished by WWII Generation"
Cris Groenendaal plays Phantom of Opera on Broadway 19 Aug
Peace Corps Director Travels to Madagascar 19 Aug
RPCV presents "Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" 19 Aug
Robert Brown to head Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA 19 Aug
Peter McPherson to head national university association 19 Aug
Len Flier says US has lose-lose scenario in Iraq 18 Aug
Ruth DeMaio sends aid to Niger 18 Aug
Bob Taft pleads no contest to ethics law violation 18 Aug
Antoinette Allen is Field Hockey coach at Hun School 16 Aug
Tony Hall Avoids Mugabe on Zimbabwe trip 14 Aug
Peace Corps Receives 2005 Medgar Evers Award 10 Aug
Jeff Wray is filming "The Soul Searchers" 10 Aug
40th anniversary of Shriver's Foster Grandparent Program 9 Aug
Tom Petri writes "It's not just about highways" 9 Aug
Terry Dougherty brings students from Afghanistan to US 8 Aug
Chris Newhall is leading volcano scientist 5 Aug
Douglas Biklen appointed dean at Syracuse University 5 Aug
Greg Kovalchuk and Mike Kelly Find Rare Fossil 4 Aug
Edward O'Toole salvages furniture for schools in Honduras 3 Aug
Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year 1 Aug

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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Story Source: Palm Beach Post

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines;Congress; Appropriations; Budget


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