Fight more than $50 million in cuts to Peace Corps

BRATTLEBORO — As the Peace Corps prepares to mark its 60th anniversary year, 2021will also mark the redeployment of volunteers following the difficult decision last spring to temporarily suspend its global programs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This redeployment can serve as a moment of rejuvenation for the Peace Corps and our national reconnection with the world, as well as our recommitment to building world peace and friendship.

A source of frustration, and one familiar to all Peace Corps activities, is the gap between the growing number of tasks assigned or taken on by the Peace Corps and the budget allocated to carry them out.

Congress needs to show its commitment to the Peace Corps and its volunteers. Sen. Patrick Leahy will be critical to this effort. That's because the Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut Peace Corps funding by more than $50 million.

As the highest ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Leahy needs to urge his colleagues to reject this foolish cut during spending negotiations and support the House recommendation of level funding for the agency.

The potential for the Peace Corps to make a difference you should never doubt. Its signature has adorned many of the world's most impressive development initiatives. It addresses the world's most pressing concerns with accuracy, consistency, and innovative brilliance; it sends the brightest, most passionate, and most dedicated to places remote and uncertain.

The Peace Corps is the United States' preeminent international service organization, and, in my opinion, the United States' best foreign policy tool.

More than 1,600 Vermonters have answered the call to Peace Corps service since 1961. For the next generation of Vermont volunteers and the next chapter in Peace Corps' history, my leadership, your leadership, and Senator Leahy's leadership is needed yet again.

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