Capital Hill Chatter About The Peace Corps

A Washington friend of Babbles dropped us a note with some interesting, and unsubstantiated, gossip: 

At a Washington dinner party over the weekend with journalists and Capital Hill staff types,  I heard two bits of gossip which intrigued me.  

The first is that the $450 million Peace Corps appropriation may be in trouble because, as one staffer told me, “The director of the Peace Corps hasn’t made a personal visit to Senator Leahy asking for the money.”

“Humm,” I replied, “There is no Director of the Peace Corps. Obama hasn’t appointed one yet. I’m not sure the acting director is expected to do that sort of thing.”

This stumped my source who said he was just repeating Hill gossip that Leahy was somehow offended.  So never mind all the lofty arguments about Peace Corps needing a larger appropriation, it may come down to ego and a protocol misstep. 

The second point has to do with lack of action on the Peace Corps director.  “If you think that is a problem, what about USAID?” said this staffer. “They are still waiting on a director too.”   And the problem is that State — and more specifically, at least in this telling, Clinton — keeps vetoing names being sent down from the White House. The reason: Hillary wants to keep a tight hold of USAID, a nominally independent agency, and that’s easier to do with no director in place, especially a director who has tight links to the White House. Perhaps the same is true of the Peace Corps director.  

Any of this true?  Who knows, but the talk is delicious.


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  • Give Hillary credit for trying to pick the best..Given the history of incompetent USAID and Peace Corps Directors over the last twenty years both the WH and Hillary should be cautious and take their time..What’s the rush..the problems of poverty, ignorance and disease are not going anywhere fast..

    How about a WH relative for Peace Corps, half sister Maya Ng and her husband are US citizens living and teaching in Hawaii, or Michelle’s brother Craig, or Marian Robinson, mother-in-law maybe or some campaign cronies.

    My pick are still the Shriver kids, Tim, Bobby and Maria or your all time favorite Caroline Kennedy..but that’s overreaching on class and charisma.

    John that still leaves you despite the fact you think you think are too old..think Camelot!!!


  • It is illegal for the executive branch to “lobby” Congress. No one from the Peace Corps can actually ask Congress for money. So either Leahy really wants to bend the rules for his ego (possible) or this staffer doesn’t have a clue/

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