Peace Corps Director to Testify at House Hearing on Budget Increase ; HHS Secretary, Other Prominent Former Volunteers to Testify Tomorrow

March 17, 1998

Washington, D.C., March 17, 1998—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan will testify tomorrow at a House hearing on the proposed budget increase for the Peace Corps, which would put the agency on the path to having 10,000 Peace Corps volunteers overseas by the year 2000.
President Clinton has proposed boosting the Peace Corps budget by $44 million, boosting the agency's budget from $226 million in fiscal year 1998 to $270 million in fiscal 1999. The 19 percent increase represents the largest funding increase requested for the Peace Corps since the 1960s.
Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran from 1962-64, and the six members of Congress who served as volunteers will also testify.
WHO: Peace Corps Director M ark Gearan, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga. (a former Peace Corps Director); and returned Peace Corps volunteers: Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. James Walsh (R-N.Y.), Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio), Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.), Charles Dambach, President of the National Peace Corps Association and James Carden, a Peace Corps volunteer currently serving in Russia.
WHAT: Testify at a budget hearing before the House International Relations Committee
WHEN: 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 18, 1998
WHERE: Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The budget increase proposal comes at a time when interest in the Peace Corps remains strong: more than 150,000 individuals contacted the agency in 1997 to learn about volunteer opportunities, a 40 percent increase over 1994.
Currently, about 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 84 countries to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, start new small businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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