As with all Federal agencies, the Peace Corps is funded through congress, so organizations like the NPCA must continuously advocate for a robust budget to support the Peace Corps and its mission. But in addition to funding for the Peace Corps, the NPCA (and the MNRPCV) advocates for specific issues that impact vollunteers and RPCVs. Current issues that the NPCA is advocating for in congress include an effort to raise the grade on the GS pay scale that RPCVs receive workers compensation when injured in service. Currently people that are receiving workmans compensation for injuries while in the PC are compensated as if they were working as a GS 7. The NPCA is pushing for raising this benchmark to the GS 11 level.
There are also efforts to improve the health care services that are available to volunteers once they return home. For example, under current rules the Peace Corps is only able to provide health care directly to volunteers for several weeks after COS. NPCA is advocating to lengthen this time.
Elizabeth Arnold and Ken Flies, MNRPCV Board, Advocacy Co-Chairs
Here's the latest Advocacy updates:
April 28, 2019
Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) circulated their annual Peace Corps funding Dear Colleague letter. And, the Peace Corps community responded.
A record 41 Senators signed this year's letter! That number surpassed the previous high of 37 signatures, achieved in both 2009 and 2018. Coupled with a record breaking House Dear Colleague letter and its 181 signatures, the combined 222 lawmakers signing Peace Corps funding letters (also a new record) represents 41 percent of Congress demonstrating strong support for the Peace Corps.
Both Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith signed the Senate letter. Final result of the House signees is not in yet but for sure Representatives: Tom Hagedorn, Angie Craig and Collin Peterson signed. Final tallies will come on next Tuesdays Advocacy conference call as well as statistic on state support levels.
March 18 2019
2019 Peace Corps Week Advocacy Highlights
Peace Corps Week 2019 was highlighted in Washington, D.C. with two major events which occur each year: Advocacy Day on the Hill and the Shriver Leadership Summit. These two events were also followed this year by a memorial service at Howard University for Peace Corps founder and long-time civil rights advocate Senator Harris Wofford who recently passed. While Advocacy Day followed it usual process of previous years, the Shriver Leadership Summit resulted in some major new ideas and initiatives for the future of NPCA and the Peace Corps community.
February 28th Advocacy Day on the Hill
Some 140 RPCVs came to Washington, D.C. to meet with senators and representatives. In teams of six we visited our State officials. Our team included, in addition to myself, Jack and Jane Bardon from MNRPCV. The four goals of the visits were:
March 1st – Shriver Leadership Summit
This was an intense fourteen hour session attended by NPCA board members, Summit leadership members and invited guests. This session was focused on four major themes. These included:
MNRPCV Advocacy Committee