White House requests $334 Million for Peace Corps for FY2008
President Bush has sent Congress a proposed $20.3 billion budget for foreign assistance during fiscal year 2008, which begins October 1. The funding request is part of the president’s $2.9 trillion budget plan submitted to Congress February 5. Congress must approve the president’s proposals and can modify the specific amounts requested. In turn, the president must approve the final appropriations bills that Congress passes. Under the proposal, the Peace Corps would receive $334 million, up $9 Million from the $325 Million Congress appropriated for FY2007.
Caption: US President George W. Bush holds a copy of the 2008 Fiscal Budget during a meeting with his cabinet as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (L) looks on in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Bush presented the US Congress with a mammoth 716.5 billion dollar budget request to fund large US military, including its missions in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan .(AFP/Mandel Ngan)
From 2002: President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address calls for doubling the size of the Peace Corps
"This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity, a moment we must seize to change our culture. Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know: We can overcome evil with greater good. And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting peace. All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to be educated and live free from poverty and violence. No people on earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police."
"And America needs citizens to extend the compassion of our country to every part of the world. So we will renew the promise of the Peace Corps, double its volunteers over the next five years, and ask it to join a new effort to encourage development, and education, and opportunity in the Islamic world."
Promises not funded are promises not kept
In his State of the Union addresses, President Bush has used the occasion, as do all presidents, to outline bold objectives for the coming years. Still another worthy goal, this one in his 2002 State of the Union address, was to double the number of Peace Corps workers by 2007.
Bush rightly proposed expanding the Peace Corps started by President Kennedy in 1961. The Peace Corps shows the world the best of American values. Last year more than 7,500 Peace Corps volunteers served in 71 countries. They taught school, provided medical assistance, built houses, taught farming and did other good works.
Many Americans transformed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and wanting to help their country signed up for the Peace Corps. Applications jumped from more than 9,000 in 2001 to more than 11,000 last year. Countries seeking Peace Corps workers also soared. About 20 are on the waiting list for Peace Corps volunteers.
But budgetary constraints mean an expanded Peace Corps will not happen. America's best face lacks funding.
Promises not funded are promises not kept.