Rep. Mark Walker introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would rip away billions of dollars from international programs, including the Peace Corps.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) is working to eliminate all funding for the Peace Corps and other international programs. On Wednesday, Walker introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would eliminate $19 billion in international assistance and reallocate all the funding.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) took to the House floor to oppose the draconian measure.
Walker's measure would entirely eliminate federal funding "to 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," Lowey said.
"How are these cuts in our national interest?" Lowey asked before recommending all her colleagues vote against the measure.
The Peace Corps was established by President Kennedy in 1961 as an opportunity for volunteers to spread peace throughout the developing world. Since it began, more than 220,000 Americans have served, working on issues such as reducing malaria, fighting the spread of HIV, and reducing global hunger by improving agricultural outputs.
The National Peace Corps Association (NCPA), a group formed to advocate for the program, raised the alarm about Walker's amendment on their Facebook page, alarmed at the prospect of seeing it lose all federal funding.
Walker is not alone among Republicans who seek to cut back on the Peace Corps. In Trump's 2018 budget, he recommended cutting its budget by $12 million. Trump's plan was "the largest proposed cut to the Peace Corps by a president in over 40 years," according to the NCPA.
Trump and Republicans are not strangers to slashing the budgets of wildly popular programs. Earlier in 2019, Trump proposed — and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended — massive cuts to the Special Olympics program.
After sustained public outcry, Trump eventually relented on proposed cuts.
Members of the House are scheduled to vote on Tuesday, June 18, on Walker's Peace Corps amendment.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.