President Proposes 12 Percent Increase in Peace Corps Budget

Washington, D.C., Monday, February 1, 1999—In his fiscal year 2000 budget proposed today, President Clinton asked for a 12 percent increase for the Peace Corps, which would enable the agency to continue on the path to having 10,000 Peace Corps volunteers overseas by early in the next century. The requested increase, the second in a multi-year plan to expand the number of volunteers serving overseas, would boost the Peace Corps budget by $29 million, from $241 million this fiscal year to $270 million next year. "The President\'s strong support is an affirmation of the good work that nearly 6,700 volunteers are currently doing in 80 countries, as well as the legacy of the 150,000 volunteers who have joined the Peace Corps since 1961," said Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan. The $241 million budget approved by Congress last October will enable the Peace Corps to field 7,400 volunteers by the end of this fiscal year, the largest number of volunteers in 25 years. If the President\'s request is approved by Congress this year, the number of volunteers would increase to 8,000 by September 2000. Gearan said that with thousands more volunteers serving overseas, the Peace Corps can increasingly help people around the world gain access to clean water; improve their diet and health; help prevent the spread of AIDS; teach English, math and science; help entrepreneurs start new businesses; and work with non-governmental organizations to protect the environment. Gearan expressed confidence that the Peace Corps can meet the ambitious goal of recruiting, training, and supporting 10,000 volunteers early in the next century. He noted that the Peace Corps has received strong bipartisan support in Congress, adding that he looks forward to working with lawmakers in both parties to secure funding for the President\'s proposal. "The work of Peace Corps volunteers continues to inspire Americans and people around the world," said Gearan. "The popularity and success of the Peace Corps as an institution is a testament to the power of an idea that transcends both politics and partisanship."

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