Last night, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mark Udall (D-CO) to allow the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to use federal land in Washington, D.C. to build a memorial to commemorate the mission of the Peace Corps passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent. This bipartisan legislation with four cosponsors involves no public funding. The bill awaits passage in the House.
"For over 50 years, the Peace Corps has served as a powerful vehicle for volunteers who wish to use their talents to carry America's humanitarian values to other parts of the world," said Portman. "This bill will honor those Americans who have donated their time and talent to serving others, at no cost to taxpayers."
"The Peace Corps reflects the American ideals of public service and global engagement. I am proud my colleagues passed this proposal to honor the mission of the Peace Corps and the thousands of Americans who have volunteered their time in service of others," said Udall, whose mother was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. "This memorial will be a fitting tribute to their service, the Coloradans who have served abroad and all those who will carry on this tradition."
"We are very grateful to Senators Portman, Udall and their staff for taking such swift and effective action in passing Peace Corps commemorative legislation in the Senate," said National Peace Corps Association President Glenn Blumhorst. "This commemorative will not only serve as a fitting tribute to the historic significance of the founding of the Peace Corps, it will also assist in efforts to bring the Peace Corps experience to the millions of citizens who visit our nation's capital."
This proposal is in full compliance with the Commemorative Works Act which governs its creation, and the National Park Service has testified in support of this legislation.
Section 1 (c) of the legislation clearly states that "Federal funds may not be used to pay any expense of the establishment of the commemorative work." It is critical to advance this legislation now in order to build on the momentum from the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps and begin the necessary private fundraising that will allow the commemorative memorial to move from concept to reality.