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:
National Day of Action
NPCA has announced that National Day of Action, including Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, will be on March 5, 2020. This is an outstanding opportunity to advocate on Capitol Hill with Representatives and Senators and collaborate and socialize with RPCVs from around the US. Anyone interested in attending please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Housing can be arranged with RPCVs in the Washington area.
National Day of Action is also a time to hold Advocacy event in local areas. In the past this has included a Story Slam and other such events; anyone with suggestion also contact email@example.com.
Peace Corps Funding
Funding for the Peace Corps is still an issue. The current continuing resolution (CR) on the federal budget has been extended to mid-December. Senate and House continue to negotiate the “top line” dollar figure for various appropriations bills, including the State/Foreign Operations bill. How these negotiation go will determine the prospects of Peace Corps remaining at $410 million or getting an increase to $425 million. If you know any of our Senators or Representatives on the appropriation committed please contact their office or staff to push for this increase. I believe Betty McCullum is our only member. If you know her please contact her, even if not, send an email.
Some progress but slow on the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3456) continues to pick up some additional co- sponsors and a sponsor for the bill in the Senate is still being sought to introduce the legislation.
Little progress with the Peace Corps Respect Act (H.R. 1411) allowing use of insignia on grave markers. I senate committee staff continues to push wanting to change the Peace Corps logo to “United States Peace Corps” versus “Peace Corps” as now presented.
Senate legislation (S. 2320) to remove Peace Corps independence and place it under the State Department remains dormant with no co-sponsors.