2019 Talking Points

 

Peace Corps Funding

Peace Corps’ budget has remained relatively flat since 2015. It is currently funded at $410.5 million. Because funding levels have not been adjusted since 2015, Peace Corps’ effective operating budget has decreased by up to 25 million due to inflation. Peace Corps would need a 10 percent raise to $450 million to keep pace with inflation.

For the 2020 Fiscal Year (FY), the Trump Administration’s proposed budget recommended cutting Peace Corps funding by $14 million.

In March of 2019, 181 Members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives signed a Dear Colleague letter to Congressional leadership urging a budget raise to be funded at $450 million.

In April of 2019, 41 Senators in the U.S. Senate called for providing robust funding for the Peace Corps.

Congress is currently working to finalize funding for the remainder of FY 2020. 


The Ask

Congress - We urge you to support no less than $450 million for Peace Corps for FY 2020 in your personal appropriations requests.   

House of Representative only - You can do this by co-sponsoring the comprehensive Peace Corps Reauthorization sponsored by Congressman Garamendi. (To be released in May, 2019)


Talking Points

In March 2019, 181 Members of Congress in the House of Representatives signed a Dear Colleague calling for a funding increase for the Peace Corps at $450 million so that the it can successfully carry on its mission. The U.S. Senate followed suit with 41 senators calling for robust funding in a show of strong tri-partisan support.

Peace Corps needs a 10 percent raise to keep pace with inflation and expand operations. Because funding levels have not been adjusted since 2015, the Peace Corps’ effective operating budget has decreased by up to 25 million due to inflation.

The Peace Corps currently costs less money than our military’s musical bands cost annually.

Peace Corps doesn’t give people aid, it facilitates their efforts to improve their own communities. (Note: this would be a good time to briefly share your own stories of service to emphasize this point).             

A Gallup poll in 134 countries shows that global approval of American leadership is at an all-time low of just 31 percent. The Peace Corps is a sure fire way to subtly win friends in global hotspots like Ukraine, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.  

Many of these Volunteers are working on President Trump’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, and over 20,000 women participate in Peace Corps-led economic empowerment initiatives every month.

The fiscally responsible agency also enjoys the support of our nation’s military leaders. In February 2017, 121 retired three and four-star generals and admirals wrote to Congress:

“Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.

In 2019, 141 generals and admirals wrote an open letter to Congress emphasizing that for every $1 spent on conflict prevention, we save $16 in response costs and avoid sending our troops into harm’s way.


H.R. 1411 - The Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act

Many Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) would like to place the Peace Corps logo on their final resting place. However, Peace Corps’ current policy prohibits it, and Peace Corps staff are required to inform RPCVs that doing so could result in a fine or even jail time.

HR 1411 would allow RPCVs and Peace Corps staff to use the Peace Corps logo on heir final resting place.


THE ASK

House of Representatives - Please cosponsor HR 1411, the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act.

Senate - Please introduce a Senate companion bill to HR 1411, the Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act.

Talking Points

Please support the bipartisan Respect for Peace Corps Volunteers Act. It wouldn’t cost tax payers a dime, and would allow Americans who served their country abroad to put the Peace Corps’ logo on their final resting place, just like service members of the military are allowed to do.

To be a cosponsor, please contact Rep. Sires’ office (Dems) or Rep. Garret Graves’s office (GOP).


Improving Disability Payments

Peace Corps Volunteers who are severely injured or incapacitated during their service are currently expected to live on $19,000 a year. This must cover their insurance, medications, medical bills not directly related to their service injuries, and all living expenses.

These disability payments are covered by the Department of Labor. Peace Corps Volunteers receive payments at the General Schedule (GS) Base Pay 7-level.

These Volunteers need to be boosted from the GS-7 pay scale to the GS-11 level with the Department of Labor. The Peace Corps is responsible for reimbursing the Department of Labor for these payments.

A preliminary Congressional Budget Office report estimated that this would cost only $1-2 million annually.

The Ask

Please support efforts to boost disability payments for Peace Corps Volunteers from the GS-7 to the GS-11 pay scale with the Department of Labor.

Talking point

Peace Corps Volunteers are courageous individuals who put their health and wellbeing on the line in conditions of hardship on behalf of their nation. It is important that when our Volunteers return from their mission of peace, they receive appropriate heath care and benefits.

A person should not become homeless because the government they served in good faith will not completely fulfill its commitment to provide care for those severely injured during the course of their patriotic service.

A preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimated that this will only cost $1-2 million a year. Even as we work to repay our nation’s debts, we should never forget the price some Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have paid in sacrifice.


How to Contact Your Member of Congress

 
 

In-Person Advocacy

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NPCA Advocacy can help you schedule meetings with your Representative and Senators either in Washington, D.C. or your local district office. Please contact Will Burriss at William@PeaceCorpsConnect.org for more information.  

Introductions

Group Leader thanks the office for the opportunity to meet and begins with introductions and everyone follows (name and country, and years of service only, please); please note if you are a constituent.

  • Give thanks—If applicable, thank the office for their support of Peace Corps appropriations and/or legislation

  • Key Messages—Group Leader or constituent: 

    • Set the scene: “At no time is the Peace Corps more urgently needed than right now to help communities help themselves, share the best of the American idea and our values, and educate America about the world beyond our borders. America and the world need Peace Corps now.”

    • Make the ask

  • Group input—Please give priority to constituents, host country embassy representatives, and advocates from different districts of that state; share pictures if you brought them.

  • Make a connection—Thank the office once again for their time and/or support, and be sure to exchange business cards so you can follow-up and connect in-district.

Remember: If you are unable to answer a question from an office it is best to say that you don’t know the answer and that you or NPCA will follow-up with the office.