|By Admin1 (admin) (18.104.22.168) on Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 10:52 am: Edit Post|
Senate Appropriations Committee's Peace Corps funding falls short of goal
A nationwide push by Peace Corps supporters seeking $450 million in funding for the 2010 fiscal year budget appears to be coming up short. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed Thursday to fund the program at $373.4 million, the amount proposed by the Obama administration and $33.4 million more than the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. The committee's funding recommendation for the Peace Corps is the largest percentage increase in the program's budget since 1993. In its report, the Appropriations Committee said it "strongly supports the mission of the Peace Corps," and that it can remain a relevant way for the country to promote its values abroad. But the committee also wrote in its report that the program is in need of serious reform, which has so far failed to materialize. "Past efforts by the committee to encourage the Peace Corps to reform and make better use of resources have been ignored. A new Director with a new vision, who recognizes the need for reform, supports transparency and seeks a constructive relationship with Congress, is urgently needed," the report reads. "The Committee believes that reform, not dramatic increases in funding in a single year, is the Peace Corps' most urgent need."
Senate Appropriations Committee's Peace Corps funding falls short of goal
Peace Corps funding falls short of goal
Posted: 07/10/2009 10:56:32 PM EDT
NEAL P. GOSWAMI
Caption: Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and head of the subcommittee tasked with shaping Peace Corps funding.
BENNINGTON -- The Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to increase funding for the Peace Corps, but by far less than many Peace Corps veterans were seeking.
A nationwide push by Peace Corps supporters seeking $450 million in funding for the 2010 fiscal year budget appears to be coming up short. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed Thursday to fund the program at $373.4 million, the amount proposed by the Obama administration and $33.4 million more than the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
The committee's funding recommendation for the Peace Corps is the largest percentage increase in the program's budget since 1993.
In its report, the Appropriations Committee said it "strongly supports the mission of the Peace Corps," and that it can remain a relevant way for the country to promote its values abroad.
But the committee also wrote in its report that the program is in need of serious reform, which has so far failed to materialize.
"Past efforts by the committee to encourage the Peace Corps to reform and make better use of resources have been ignored. A new Director with a new vision, who recognizes the need for reform, supports transparency and seeks a constructive relationship with Congress, is urgently needed," the report reads. "The Committee believes that reform, not dramatic increases in funding in a single year, is the Peace Corps' most urgent need."
Kevin Bubriski, a Shaftsbury resident and Peace Corps veteran, has been a vocal supporter of increased funding for the program. He said he and other proponents of increased funding are disappointed, but understand the committee's concerns.
"Maybe they thought Peace Corps could wait a year while they find a new director," said Bubriski, who served as a drinking water engineer in Nepal from 1977 to 1978. "We are disappointed, but I think we put in a good effort and we will continue to do what we can."
Bubriski said he and others know that lawmakers are concerned that the Peace Corps "is in limbo." Bubriski said he even agrees. But he is confident that new leadership will soon be in place, allowing for significant changes.
"Ideally, the new director is going to be someone who has experience in the Peace Corps ... or has some comparable experience," Bubriski said. "I do have great faith in President Obama to pick someone competent."
Supporters in Vermont made a significant effort to sway Sen. Patrick Leahy, a member of the committee, and head of the subcommittee tasked with shaping Peace Corps funding. Bubriski said he hand delivered more than two dozen letters from the area to Leahy in Washington.
Leahy aide David Carle said the Vermont Democrat, who heads the Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations, has been a "life-long supporter and fan of the Peace Corps." But Leahy must fund many programs with a set amount of money. Increasing funding for the Peace Corps means funds must be reduced elsewhere, Carle said.
The bill totals about $48.7 billion in discretionary spending.
The funding bill was approved unanimously by the subcommittee, and approved 29 to 1 in the full Appropriations Committee. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas, was the only person to vote against it.
Bubriski said he understands concerns about leadership and Leahy's reluctance to boost funding for the Peace Corps even more this year.
"I'm an ardent supporter of Leahy and everything he's done for the state of Vermont and everything he's done for us nationally, and will continue to be," he said.
But he and other supporters of the program plan to keep pushing for more funding and expansion of the program into additional countries.
"With Peace Corps, I think the thing is to keep up ... the effort and think in terms of the long-term. I think it's very hard in America and the world these days to sustain that perspective," Bubriski said. "One could look at this as a defeat because we didn't get the funding, and yet Peace Corps is still there and will have a new director that Obama will have a hand in selecting."
The committee said it expects to recommend additional increases in funding in the future with the goal of doubling the Peace Corps. Part of the goal includes sending more volunteers to countries "with large Muslim populations." But currently, "few of such countries are safe enough or otherwise ready to host volunteers."
The bill will now head to the Senate floor for approval by the full Senate.
Links to Related Topics (Tags):
Headlines: July, 2009; Congress; Budget; Appropriations; Expansion; Vermont
When this story was posted in July 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:
Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign.
Read how RPCV's rallied and and marched to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age.
May 30, 2009: Peace Corps' Roadmap
Peace Corps' Roadmap for the Future 26 May
Who are the Candidates for Peace Corps Director? 24 May
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Obama asks Congress for 10% increase in PC Budget 7 May
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Damian Wampler's play Twin Towers opens in NYC 21 May
Michael Volpe learns that DC is networking capital 21 May
Dr. Mike Metke returns to Costa Rica 10 May
Jesse Fleisher Lives well on less 14 May
Al Kamen writes: PCVs peak at 11,000 under Obama Budget 11 May
James W. Kostenblatt is making a difference in Mozambique 10 May
Karen and Warren Master host Kyrgyzstan teen 9 May
Alberto Ibargüen writes: The Future of Newspapers 9 May
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Paul Theroux writes: Obama and the Peace Corps 1 May
Johnnie Carson to head State Department African Affairs 29 Apr
Michael O'Hanlon writes: Grading Obama's First 100 Days 29 Apr
Amy Potthast writes: The Peace Corps Lottery 23 Apr
Read more stories from April and May 2009.
PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director
Honduras RPCV Jon Carson, 33, presided over thousands of workers as national field director for the Obama campaign and said the biggest challenge -- and surprise -- was the volume of volunteer help, including more than 15,000 "super volunteers," who were a big part of what made Obama's campaign so successful. PCOL endorses Jon Carson as the man who can revitalize the Peace Corps, bring it into the internet age, and meet Obama's goal of doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.
Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.
Read the stories and leave your comments.
|By John W Strain III (jwstrain) (22.214.171.124) on Monday, July 13, 2009 - 11:38 am: Edit Post|
Leahy's "leadership" voted "NO" on the increase last Thursday, per his office in VT. What a fool.
|By Joanne Marie Roll Colombia XI (126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 11:50 am: Edit Post|
I disagree. I think that Leahy's statement is prudent. I believe that increased funding will come, as Leahy promised, when the Obama administration appoints a new director, and it is more clear what the Peace Corps will look like in the future. Remember the previous Director in an interview published on peacecorpsonline.org expressed concern that the Peace Corps could not double in two years without compromising effectiveness and efficiency.
|By former Volunteer (188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - 3:40 pm: Edit Post|
I am with you Joanne.
Of course as a former volunteer, I support more funding for Peace Corps, however, I agree with Leahy's reform message.(I agree Joey Roll) As all of you know, little in reform of Peace Corps has taken place and the safety and security issues got out of control and were handled very poorly. If volunteers and staff are so smart then why haven't we had reform. Everytime serious discussion comes up over the years, the threat of shutting it down comes up. Its like a game that is played.
We know it won't get shut down, but its time to address the issues of volunteers who have been hurt by apathy toward the problems of safety, security and health. Pumping more volunteers in the field will just increase the rates of attrition. Quality is what Peace Corps was in the 1960's and it should look to the past for ansewers in the future. The Peace Corps idea is based on harmonious relations. They should start with the volunteers who served them and are currently serving them. The volunteers should be supported fully in the field showing strength in the volunteers presence in the village. Not dropping volunteers off and abandoning them without resources in the field.
It needs to change and repair itself and be the idealist Kennedy program that solves problems and does not cast blame at the volunteers. As you can see, it has hurt the program. Now its hurting the funding. I agree with Senator Leahy on his calls for repair and reform. After the reforms are in place then funding should expand.
By the way Tim Reasor has got to be one of the most arogant hill staffers I have ever dealt with. We miss Fred Kenny and his real Vermont nature.
|By another former volunteer (184.108.40.206) on Saturday, August 01, 2009 - 12:05 pm: Edit Post|
Hear hear! The PC needs better jobs for existing volunteers before it needs more volunteers. I find this continual NPCA "more volunteers" drumbeat nonsensical given how poorly volunteers were assigned and supported when I served.