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Majority of House Republicans try to strip all funding from Peace Corps

Not a single Democrat voted to take money away from the Peace Corps program.

By Dan Desai Martin - June 19, 2019
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Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., speaks to the media following the House GOP leadership elections in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Republicans tried and failed to take away all funding from the Peace Corps during a Tuesday evening House vote.

An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) to slash $19 billion for U.S. foreign assistance — including every penny supporting the Peace Corps — failed spectacularly in a 110-315 vote.

The measure failed because a united Democratic majority voted against it, with not a single Democrat supporting the draconian cut. Every one of the 110 votes to take away Peace Corps funding came from Republicans, and only a minority of GOP House members, 81 Republicans, voted with Democrats to preserve Peace Corps funding.

Walker’s bill would have reallocated the funding from Peace Corps and other international priorities to domestic issues.

“We applaud the strong, bipartisan rejection of this ill-conceived amendment,” Glenn Blumhorst, National Peace Corps Association president, said in a statement following the vote.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, lambasted Walker’s attempt to take money away from critical international efforts.

Walker’s amendment, Lowey pointed out last week, would have eliminated federal funding for “14.7 million people receiving life-saving HIV treatment, including 700,000 children, 70 million children learning to read with U.S. assistance, 6.5 million refugees displaced by conflicts or natural disasters, and 7,200 Peace Corps volunteers serving as excellent representatives of the United States.”

“How are these cuts in our national interest?” Lowey asked.

Established by President Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps has seen more than 220,000 Americans serve abroad, working on issues such as reducing malaria, economically empowering women and girls, and reducing global hunger.

“I felt compelled to contribute to the goodness in the world and expand its reach, offering skills to help build a more inclusive global economy through local business and entrepreneurship,” Yvette Garcia, a community economic development volunteer in the Dominican Republic, said about her reason for joining Peace Corps.

Americans like Garcia and thousands of other Peace Corps volunteers help make the world a better place, working to spread peace and prosperity.

Yet most Republicans wanted to put an end to all of that good work.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 


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