Peace Corps News: House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Targets State Department Budget Items including Peace Corps in FY 2012 Budget
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House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has responded to the president’s fiscal 2012 international affairs budget request, recommending the elimination of over a dozen State Department and foreign aid programs.

Ros-Lehtinen wrote to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan in her official response to the administration’s 2012 budget request:

“As the massive fiscal challenge facing our country accelerates, producing trillion-dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see, we need to move beyond the idea of selective freezes in spending to real cuts.  These will be difficult and painful, but necessary for our nation’s long-term interests.  It is not possible to reconcile a continued expansion of funding or continued funding at current levels with the unfortunate fiscal realities facing the United States.”

“Those who complain about potentially diminished levels of International Affairs funding need to ask themselves how much less an insolvent United States of America would be able to do.”

“It is no longer sufficient to ask whether a particular activity is useful. Rather, the correct question is whether a given activity is so important that it justifies borrowing money to pay for it.”

Regarding the Peace Corps, Ros-Lehtinen writes:

“The Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Peace Corps is nearly $440 million, $40 million of the FY 2010 level of funding and $109 million over FY 2008 level.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps.  Despite the passage of fifty years of operations, the Peace Corps still lacks benchmarks for graduating countries and lacks a strategic plan for placing volunteers in countries based on their important to US foreign policy interests.  The Peace Corps also continues to operate in countries, such as Ghana, in which significant development strides have been made over the past half-century and which receive major amounts of assistance from other US aid agencies. (For instance, in 2006, the US and Ghana signed a five-year $547 million compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation.)”

Ros-Lehtinen’s letter does not place a specific target on the Peace Corps’ budget for FY2012.


References:

Click on the link to read Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s letter to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan

Foreign Policy.  “Ros-Lehtinen targets several State Department budget items” by Josh Rogin  March 23, 2011.