07.09.09

Committee Report Language, State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, Senate Appropriations Committee

PEACE CORPS 

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

Appropriations, 2009 ............................................. $340,000,000

Budget estimate, 2010 .......................................... $373,440,000

Committee recommendation .................................. $373,440,000

The Committee recommends $373,440,000 for the Peace Corps, which is equal to the budget request and $33,440,000 above the fiscal year 2009 level.

The Committee strongly supports the mission of the Peace Corps, which can be as relevant today in promoting American values abroad as it was when it was founded almost a half century ago.  But the world has changed significantly since then, and the Peace Corps needs to adapt to the 21st century.  Past efforts by the Committee to encourage the Peace Corps to reform and make better use of resources have been ignored.  A new Director with a new vision, who recognizes the need for reform, supports transparency and seeks a constructive relationship with Congress, is urgently needed.

The Committee is aware that some have called for a large increase in funding above the amount requested by the President for fiscal year 2010, in order to send volunteers to new countries.  Very few of such countries are safe enough or otherwise ready to host volunteers, and there are hundreds of volunteers currently serving in countries with little if any strategic importance to the United States who could be used more effectively.  At a time of intense pressures on a limited budget, each volunteer costs the U.S. Government $50,000 a year.  Each dose of vaccine for measles, which threatens hundreds of millions of children in poor countries and needlessly kills 200,000 children annually, costs a few dollars.  This is but one of the many difficult funding choices the Committee faced, yet its recommendation for the Peace Corps is the largest percentage increase in the Peace Corps’ budget since 1993.  The Committee believes that reform, not dramatic increases in funding in a single year, is the Peace Corps’ most urgent need.

The Committee expects to recommend additional increases in funding to support the goal of doubling the Peace Corps, including sending more volunteers to countries with large Muslim populations, once it is clear that a new Director is providing the leadership the Peace Corps needs.

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693