Peace Corp funding safe for another fiscal year

A proposed amendment to cut billions of foreign aid funding from the United States budget for 2020 was rejected this week, thanks to a united Democratic majority.

Last week, Republican Senator Mark Walker put forward an amendment to cut US$19 billion (T$50.37 billion) in foreign aid including the Peace Corps.

The amendment was defeated in a 110 to 315 vote, where only Republicans voted for the cut, while 81 Republican’s voted to preserve the funding.

In a statement, National Peace Corps Association president Glenn Blumhorst said he applauds the vote against the “ill-conceived amendment".

He said members Peace Corps community sent at least 9,000 communications to their House representatives on the issue.

Established by President Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps has seen more than 220,000 Americans serve abroad, working on issues such as reducing malaria, economically empowering women and girls, and reducing global hunger.

They have worked in Samoa since 1967 and have sent over 90 groups to volunteer in the community in education. 

According to Peace Corps Country Director for Samoa, Gini Wilderson, 2018's group of 27 is the largest so far to arrive.

The past two years have seen 16 or 17 volunteers arrive, but thanks to Samoa's programme positive reputation across America, that number has increased, she said.

“Just anecdotally, our placement office tells us five times as many people apply as are accepted; we have to turn people away.”

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