Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Letter to Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations and Lindsey Graham, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and 30 of their colleagues wrote a letter to the chair and ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee calling for "strong funding" for the Peace Corps in the FY 2013 funding bill.

"As we move beyond its 50th anniversary year, the Peace Corps and Congress can be proud of recent, significant achievements. For the first time in more than 40 years, the number of volunteers and trainees in the field has surpassed 9,000. At the same time, the number of minorities serving in the Peace Corps has reached 20%, the highest percentage in history," the senators wrote in the letter. "While we realize the fiscal challenges that confront us, it is important to build upon the recent achievements with Peace Corps programming and imperative that we not reverse course."

The 32 senators signing the letter were Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Ver.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Full text of the letter follows:

March 16, 2012

Chairman Patrick Leahy
Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations
437 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Ranking Member Lindsey Graham
Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Graham:

We respectfully request that you provide strong funding for the Peace Corps in the Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

As we move beyond its 50th anniversary year, the Peace Corps and Congress can be proud of recent, significant achievements. For the first time in more than 40 years, the number of volunteers and trainees in the field has surpassed 9,000. At the same time, the number of minorities serving in the Peace Corps has reached 20%, the highest percentage in history. Peace Corps programs are scheduled to return to Tunisia and Nepal, while an annual portfolio review is providing thoughtful analysis on which countries are most strategic and effective for new or expanded volunteer programs.

Achievements are not only being measured in Peace Corps' quantity but also in its quality. In 2011, Congress passed bi-partisan legislation to further support and protect volunteers who are victimized by physical or sexual assault. Expanded partnerships with NGO's and allowing highly skilled Americans who have not served to apply for the short-term, Peace Corps Response program demonstrate innovative steps the agency is taking to improve and advance collaborative development initiatives. Just one example of progress is the community-based outreach and coordination being undertaken by volunteers in Senegal, who are working with government and NGO partners to distribute bed nets in a nationwide effort to eliminate the human suffering caused by malaria.

It is important to note that Peace Corps Volunteers serving their country are also American citizens with jobs. Upon the completion of service, returned Peace Corps Volunteers come home with a variety of marketable skills that are attractive to employers and beneficial to local communities. With 13,500 applicants for only 4,500 positions, there continues to be a robust supply of individuals wishing to serve their country through the Peace Corps. With up to 20 countries having their requests for volunteers go unfulfilled, there continues to be a built-up demand for the type of positive bi-lateral engagement that Peace Corps service personifies.

While we realize the fiscal challenges that confront us, it is important to build upon the recent achievements with Peace Corps programming and imperative that we not reverse course. We thank you for your ongoing support for a strong and vibrant Peace Corps.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
Johnny Isakson
Daniel Akaka
Scott Brown
Jeff Bingaman
Susan Collins
Richard Blumenthal
Olympia Snowe
Mark Begich
Michael Bennet
Barbara Boxer
Ben Cardin
Tom Carper
Chris Coons
Dick Durbin
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kay Hagan
John Kerry
Herb Kohl
Mary Landrieu
Frank Lautenberg
Carl Levin
Bob Menendez
Jeff Merkley
Barbara Mikulski
Jay Rockefeller
Bernie Sanders
Chuck Schumer
Tom Udall
Mark Udall
Sheldon Whitehouse
Ron Wyden


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top