Former Peace Corps Directors call on Senate to pass the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act

 

Read this news and link to  text of the letter at the NPCA website: https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/articles/former-peace-corps-directors-call-on-senate-to-pass-the-peace-corps-reauthorization-act

“In a bipartisan show of support, ten former Peace Corps Directors who have served under Republican and Democratic administrations alike call on the Senate to pass the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act. The most sweeping Peace Corps legislation in a generation, it would bring important reforms and support for Volunteers as the agency seeks to meet the needs of a changing world.”

From the Press Release:

Today, 10 former Peace Corps Directors who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), calling on them to pass the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (S. 4466).

These bipartisan former Peace Corps Directors specifically asked the Senate to move the legislation, co-authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID), either as an amendment to the pending National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA) or independently.

The letter was also shared with key senators who have a decision-making role in this process. They are Senator Robert Menendez(D-NJ), Chair, Foreign Relations Committee; Senator James Risch (D-ID), Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Chair, Armed Services Committee; Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee; Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chair, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee; and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

The legislation has already unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Its House of Representatives companion legislation (H.R. 1456), authored by Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Garret Graves (R-LA), passed the full House on September 19 with a strong bipartisan vote of 290–115. The Senate legislation currently has 15 co-sponsors, including six Republicans, and if the legislation becomes law, it will be the first full reauthorization of the Peace Corps since 1999.

The former Directors wrote this letter now, as amendments to be considered for the FY23 NDAA are currently being vetted, with floor votes likely to occur after the midterm elections.

This is the time for this critical legislation to become law, so that the Peace Corps can remain a strong force for U.S. global leadership and strengthen connections with the world. The former directors unanimously called on the Senate to meet the moment and pass this legislation during this Congress.

The legislation will provide multiple reforms and improvements to the Peace Corps, including:

  • Authorizing agency funding through 2027.
  • Increasing readjustment allowance to $375 minimum/month.
  • Suspending federal student loan interest during the duration of service.
  • Extending transitory health care coverage for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to two months.
  • Providing greater whistleblower protections.
  • Codifying two years of non-competitive eligibility (NCE) for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
  • Strengthening DEIA efforts at the Peace Corps.
  • Expanding Peace Corps eligibility to include U.S. citizens who are American Samoan.
  • Increasing Peace Corps Volunteers’ level of workers compensation.
  • Strengthening and extending the Peace Corps’ Sexual Assault Advisory Council.

Please note: Further information about Peace Corps and NPCA events can be found at the website.

5 Comments

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  • Well, look who is glaringly, but not surprisingly, missing from this diverse and non-biased cohort.

    Carol Bellamy (1993–95) Clinton Administration
    Richard Celeste (1979–81) Carter Administration
    Nicholas Craw (1973–74) Nixon Administration
    Mark Gearan (1995–99) Clinton Administration
    Carrie Hessler-Radelet (2014–17) Obama Administration
    Josephine (Jody) Olsen (2018–21) Trump Administration
    Mark Schneider (1999–2001) Clinton Administration
    Ronald Tschetter (2006–09) George W. Bush Administration
    Gaddi Vasquez (2002–06) George W. Bush Administration
    Aaron Williams (2009–12) Obama Administration

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