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A Bold New Peace Corps

The bold new Peace Corps was born today in room 2172 in the Rayburn House Office Building. It took place as members of the House of Representatives were marking up the Foreign Affairs Authorization Bill authored by Committee Chairman Rep. Howard Berman. For almost every item, the California Democrat kept to the figures in President Obama's budget, but when it came to the budget for the Peace Corps he tossed out the administration's fiscal year 2010 figure of $373 million and made it $450 million. In terms of the overall budget this was chump change, but if the bill passes Congress, the Peace Corps will be able to begin the extensive reform that it needs and to move toward a doubling of the 7,000 volunteers.Rep. Berman is a loyal Democrat and a team player of the first order. It took courage for him to support this enlarged figure, seemingly opposing the administration's number. In fact, Berman stood up for President Obama's highest ideals and values. Berman supported the movement that elected Obama. Berman saved Obama's own vision.Obama is the one who in his campaign promised to double the size of the Peace Corps by its fiftieth anniversary in 2011. Obama is the one with a profound understanding of service as an essential feature of the American spirit. Obama is the one who has gone ahead to include in his budget tripling the size of the domestic volunteers to a massive 275,000.What is increasingly apparent is that at its top levels, the Obama administration does not realize that it has reneged on the President's fervent campaign pledge. I know how unlikely that sounds, but it is the truth, and Berman has done the President an immense service.If the Peace Corps is able to reinvent itself for the 21st century, Berman will deserve a place not simply in the history of the organization but in a new American presence in the world. He does not stand alone. The politician was accepting figures in a bill written by Rep. Sam Farr, cosigned by 120 of his colleagues. ...continue here (via huffingtonpost.com)
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