WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2259, the bipartisan Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act. This critical legislation sends a message to all current and former Peace Corps Volunteers that America stands with them. H.R. 2259 provides much-needed protections for Peace Corps volunteers throughout every stage of their service: the onboarding process, while they are deployed abroad, and when they return home.
“America’s Peace Corps Volunteers are our angels abroad. Unfortunately, we have failed those who serve America’s interests in faraway countries,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “The Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act ensures our volunteer’s safety and health are put first. This legislation will ensure that volunteers have access to qualified medical professionals (in-country) and extends protections for survivors of sexual assault. It also ensures that ill and/or injured volunteers do not have to spend months dealing with federal bureaucratic red tape just to receive the care they need and deserve. I look forward to the Senate moving quickly on this legislation.”
Peace Corps Volunteers walk into foreign lands and remote neighborhoods to serve as American diplomats of democracy and decency,” said Congressman Kennedy. “With the passage of the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act, we can ensure that our nation’s protection of those Volunteers extends before their service begins and long after they have returned home. I am deeply grateful for Congressman Poe’s partnership on this bill and look forward to advancing it to the President’s desk.”
More specifically, the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act builds upon the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act by:
- Requiring Peace Corps to provide prospective volunteers with critical information prior to deployment, including country-specific crime statistics and health risks.
- Requiring Peace Corps to provide volunteers with access to qualified medical doctors.
- Strengthening existing provisions ensuring volunteer protection from sexual assault and harassment, including extending the authority of the Sexual Assault Advisory Council.
- Enhancing access to health care for returned Peace Corps volunteers by granting them immediate access to the care they need and deserve.
- Providing further reforms to improve oversight, management, and efficiency of the Peace Corps.