July 18 - Letter from NPCA President on S-360

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Paul Coverdell (1989 - 1991): Paul Coverdell: June 16 - House Vote Tuesday, July 17, on Giving Coverdell's Name to Peace Corps Headquarters: July 18 - Letter from NPCA President on S-360

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 6:22 pm: Edit Post

Dear RPCVs and Advocates:

As you know, bill S-360 (to honor the late Senator Paul Coverdell,
including naming the Peace Corps building after him) was brought to the
floor of the House yesterday for a vote. The Senate passed the bill on
voice vote in February, after which we wrote the House committees
concerned and RPCV members about our opposition. We were informed on
Monday that it would be brought to the House on Tuesday morning under
suspension of the rules as a non-controversial bill. Hundreds of RPCVs
responded to our request to fax or call Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office
urging him to withdraw the bill, as it was controversial to RPCVs. The
NPCA also faxed a letter to the Speaker, asking him to pull the Bill
from the Schedule and requesting an opportunity to discuss with him and
the House leadership the thinking of RPCVs. You will recall that we
wrote to the Committees and to RPCVs in the Congress, taking the
position that the Peace Corps headquarters should not be named after any
single Director because the heart of the Peace Corps is the Volunteers.
We got strong support for this position from many RPCVs who responded.

Yesterday morning, we faxed a letter to Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s
office stating our position on this issue. Congresswoman McCollum sent
our letter along to all members as a Dear Colleague letter. She then
made a statement on the floor which included the entire contents of our
letter, as well as another from her RPCV constituents in Minnesota. Her
statement forced a roll call vote. The motion passed, but many see the
fact that there were 61 nays on a bill that was supposedly
"non-controversial" as a strong statement.

>From here, the bill goes to the President. The NPCA will send a letter
to the President on behalf of our Board of Directors and the many RPCVs
who have voiced their opinions on this with us. We will share that
letter with you on this listserv.

Thank you to all who responded to our requests to contact their member
of Congress and/or Speaker Hastert about this issue. While the outcome
was not what we had hoped for, we did not go unnoticed. We have also
been pleased by the responses to Congresswoman McCollum’s office from
RPCVs, which her staff have been forwarding along to us.

Dane Smith

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