WASHINGTON, DC ñ Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) hailed the unanimous passage of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1280) by the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation will provide better security and protection measures for Peace Corps volunteers worldwide. The legislation is named for Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer who was murdered in 2009 in Benin. Congressman Poe authored the companion House version of the legislation, which passed the Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously on September 22, 2011.

 ìI am thankful that this important piece of bipartisan legislation is on its way to the Presidentís desk,îsaid Poe. I thank Senator Johnny Isakson for his leadership in getting this bill through the Senate. I also thank Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member Howard Berman for their continued support of the companion House bill. This soon-to-be-law is a tribute to Kate Puzey and the other victims of violence in the Peace Corps. Their suffering is not forgotten and has resulted in positive steps to protect Americaís Angels Abroad to make sure that no one else suffers like they did. This legislation will facilitate important and immediate changes in the Peace Corps to make it an even better institution as it enters its next fifty years.î

 This legislation will require the Peace Corps to develop sexual assault risk-reduction and response training and protocol in consultation with experts that complies with best practices in the sexual assault field. In addition, it will provide whistleblower protection for Peace Corps volunteers, a safeguard that is in place for federal employees but not for Peace Corps volunteers.

The cost of legislation is offset and does not add to the national debt. The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act passed both chambers unanimously.

Poe serves on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is co-founder of the Congressional Victimsí Rights Caucus.