Shaheen Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2022June 26, 2022
Legislation reauthorizes Peace Corps agency for the first time in over 20 years
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Todd Young (R-IN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in unveiling new legislation to reauthorize the Peace Corps for the first time in over two decades. Authorizing the appropriation of over $410,000,000 per year, the bipartisan Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2022 proposes to increase Volunteers’ health care coverage, statutorily raise Volunteers’ readjustment allowance, expedite return-to-service opportunities for those impacted by COVID-19 and future comparable emergencies, and expand the agency’s Sexual Assault Advisory Council.
“Peace Corps volunteers are a key part of America’s diplomacy abroad, serving to support local communities and promote our nation’s values and priorities. Countless projects centered on economic development, education and health care have been made possible by volunteers over the last six decades,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m proud to support the Peace Corps program, which has garnered overwhelming bipartisan support, and I’ll continue to push for funding from Congress to help our volunteers grow and flourish abroad.”
Among its key provisions, the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2022:
- Authorizes $410,500,000 to be appropriated annually for the Peace Corps for fiscal years 2023 through 2027.
- Sets a statutory minimum of $375 per month for the Peace Corps Volunteer readjustment allowance, which the Peace Corps can exceed.
- Requires the Peace Corps to establish a safe return to service process for those whose service is interrupted due mandatory evacuations from catastrophic events or global emergencies like COVID-19.
- Suspends federal student loan interest during the duration of Volunteer service; allows for members of the Peace Corps to receive credit during their time of service under any income based repayment program or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program run by the Department of Education; ensures the Peace Corps is providing access to mental health professionals for Peace Corps Volunteers.
- Extends transitory health care coverage for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) from 30 days post-service to 60 days, and provides a path through which RPCVs can obtain healthcare through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; ensures Peace Corps Volunteers receive adequate health care during their service, including health examinations preparatory to their service.
- Enumerates procedures and policy to protect Volunteers against reprisal and retaliation.
- Codifies two years of noncompetitive eligibility for RPCVs.
- Mandates the Council consider and make recommendations to strengthen Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) efforts at the Peace Corps, including through the collection of workforce data; streamlines and diversifies the appointment and selection process for Council members.
- Expands Peace Corps eligibility to include United States citizens who are nationals of American Samoa.
- Increases Peace Corps Volunteers’ level of workers compensation from GS 7 step one to GS 7 step five.
- Extends the Sexual Assault Advisory Council until October 2027 and requires the Council to submit annual reports on their work to Congress.
Find a copy of the bill text HERE.
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