WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act (H.R. 6037) to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of current and returned Peace Corps volunteers.
“Congress took a historic step in passing the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act in 2011, but there is more work to be done to protect our angels abroad,” said Congressman Poe. “These young ambassadors from the United States must know that when they go to countries far away, their government has their back. This bill will go even further to both keep volunteers healthy and ensure that those who have experienced sexual assault have the assistance and protection they need. These safeguards are necessary not only to protect current volunteers, but also to ensure more young Americans join the Peace Corps in the future.”
“Since its establishment in 1961, Peace Corps has served as a vehicle for peace, hope and compassion,” said Rep. Farr. “I’m deeply humbled to have Judge Poe, a strong advocate for Peace Corps Volunteers in his own right, name this bill after me and I’m honored to cosponsor it. Expanding, promoting and improving Peace Corps has been a passion of mine since serving in Colombia from 1964-1966 and I look forward to using my remaining few months in Congress to continue this important mission.”
More specifically, the bill:
• Improves health care standards for current Peace Corps Volunteers;
• Enhances access to health care for returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) by extending the time period they’re eligible to receive treatment for service-related conditions;
• Expands and improves provisions of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps' Volunteer Protection Act to enhance Peace Corps ability to assist and protect volunteers that have experienced sexual assault;
• Increases disability payments for RPCVs that are disabled and unable to work due to service-related conditions; and
• Provides further reforms to improve oversight, management and efficiency of Peace Corps.