The United States Congress is beginning final action on Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations.
According to RPCV Congressman Sam Farr, speaking in Washington tonight at a reception celebrating the Peace Corps at the Meridian International Center, negotiations on the State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill have closed. Congressman Farr says the final bill contains $400 million for the Peace Corps.
While this figure is below the $450 million recommended by the House of Representatives, it is an historic step forward. $400 million is significantly higher than the $373.4 million proposed by President Obama and recommended by the Senate. This funding level represents a nearly 18% increase in funding above the $340 million Peace Corps appropriation in Fiscal Year 2009. The approximately $60 million increase would also be the largest single-year dollar increase in funding for the Peace Corps in the agency's nearly fifty year history.
"This wonderful news represents a tremendous and historic investment for a bigger, better and bolder Peace Corps", said National Peace Corps Association President Kevin Quigley. "Our congratulations to the many lawmakers on Capitol Hill who championed this cause, and also to the thousands of members of the Peace Corps community who took action over the past two years. As we prepare to continue future advocacy to improve, embolden and expand the Peace Corps, we applaud everyone who helped secure this initial victory. You really made a huge difference."
Congress will still need to give final approval to this spending recommendation. However, with a current December 18th deadline to conclude work on appropriations, ongoing work on health care legislation and several other key matters that must be addressed this calendar year, lawmakers are expected to consider negotiated appropriations bills in their entirety, leaving little - if any - room for amendments.
Stay tuned for further details, updates and "thank you" actions.