What the Congressional Research Service has to say about The Peace Corps Today

U.S. Capitol

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century.

Here is a 16-page report by Curt Tarnoff, Specialist in Foreign Affair, published as a PDF  on July 20, 2017



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  • I am waiting with both eyes and both wits to read what Joanne Roll has to write about this report. She is a workhorse in these matters and hunts down the fine and the coarse with equal aplomb (if ‘aplomb’ is appropriate here: for me it is because it has the off/sound meaning of ‘plumbing’).

  • Thank you, Edward, but this was off my radar. John Coyne is the go to person on this report. I am just a reader. John has some really important information about Curt Tarnoff and his association with Peace Corps. I am sure we will see it shortly.

  • The author of this report–Curt Tarnoff– wrote me that he has been “maintaining some form of that report since the early 1990s as congressional interest in the agency has “waxed and waned.” A former United Nations Volunteer who “thought of himself as a PCV” and wanted to make sure that the CRS had a continually running report informing Congress about the agency.

    While not a PCV as a UNV he had the best benefits of both programs (UNC living allowance and Peace Corps readjustment allowance. Also, he was allowed to have a car.

    His UNC role was in Botswana (1982-84) where he worked mostly as a UNV country director. He had a lot of interaction with other volunteer organizations, including Peace Corps (Norman Rush was the PC director for part of that time). That experience has very much informed my ability to explain the Peace Corps to Congress.

  • Glad to see there is some interest in my report (which is written entirely for Congress, as you know). I would appreciate hearing views/comments on its contents, as I am always trying to make it more accurate and relevant to Members and their staff. I have written some form of this report for nearly 30 years, and it may amuse you to know that Peace Corps sometimes gets attention way out of proportion to the budgets of it and the other agencies I follow (USAID and MCC). Probably because PC has its RPCV constituency in every congressional district.

    Just to set the record straight, I did not tell John Coyne that I think of myself as a Peace Corps Volunteer although I am officially an RPCV (I was a PCV seconded to UNV). My volunteer experience was unique, having been a volunteer agency country director. But it did very much inform my work on Peace Corps, especially since I learned that, to understand a volunteer agency, one should speak to volunteers (and not just HQ). In addition to visiting volunteers in the field on every possible occasion, I used to bring groups of RPCVs in Washington together periodically to tell me what their experiences have been so that I could make sure the points I raised in my report were up to date.

  • Curt,

    I think this is a really great reference. I have a question about the future. If Congress does not pass a new budget for fiscal 2018, but just passes a “Continuing Resolution” would Peace Corps’s funding continue at the $410 million level?

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