To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
Save Peace Corps' from Budget Cuts
Dear Senator / Congressmen,
As a family member or friend of a currently serving Peace Corps Volunteer, I am writing to you to urge you to reconsider the budget reductions as passed in the current federal budget for the remainder of 2011 and restore the budget funding for Peace Corps operations for this year. As you know, Congress recently passed a full-year spending appropriation bill in April resulting in a cut of $8.4 billion from President Obama’s funding request for the State Department for fiscal year 2011. The bill included a significant reduction for many of the State Department programs, including Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps is currently undersized and starved for resources. Today, we send about half the number of volunteers compared with 1966 when more than 15,000 Volunteers were working in the field, despite the Peace Corps' mission being as relevant today as it was then. The Peace Corps reports that as many as twenty-five nations are interested in starting Peace Corps programs where none currently exist. The Peace Corps also confirms that there are real opportunities to expand programs where ones already exist. We believe it is in our foreign policy and national security interest to pursue these opportunities and responsibly expand the global of services offered by the Peace Corps.
At a time when global attitudes about the United States remain fragile, the Peace Corps continues to be one of the best people-to-people diplomacy and development programs the U.S. can offer by extending a hand of friendship to ordinary people around the world and exhibiting the positive character and morals of Americans. Peace Corps Volunteers, aside from providing the skills and experience needed in the communities where they work, still do provide some of the best, most cost-effective outreach and public-relations available to the U.S.
Today, the 8,655 volunteers serving in the Peace Corps are part of a proud and rich history of global service. Over 200,000 U.S. citizens have answered the call to serve since the Peace Corps was created in 1961, and it is our hope that with robust funding, many more can serve in, and be served by, this vital program.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this request. For the above listed reasons, and others too numerous to list in so brief a plea, we urge you to take action to restore the budget funding Peace Corps operations for this year, and to safeguard it in the coming years so that Peace Corps volunteers can continue performing work that our nation can stand behind and be proud of.
Why is this important?
Recently in April, Congress passed a full-year spending bill after much contentious negotiation and many short-term Continuing Resolutions. Unfortunately, as part of the spending bill, Peace Corps received a substantial cut translating into a $25 million cut in the Peace Corps operating budget compared to the previous year's appropriation. The total agency budget for the year is now $375 million as compared to $400 million for FY10.