Budget cuts shrink Peace Corps

Aug. 22, 2008 at 11:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A weak dollar and rising energy costs are forcing the Peace Corps, which sends U.S. volunteers overseas, to cut back.

Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter told Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., the program must pay more to maintain and support its volunteers, The Washington Post reported Friday. Tschetter said he expects an $18 million shortfall in the budget for this fiscal year and fiscal 2009.

"Tough budgetary decisions must be made now in order to ensure a financially healthy agency next fiscal year," he said.

McCollum said Democrats in Congress are likely to increase the Peace Corps budget significantly.

"It's only going to be a short amount of time before a new budget gets through, and the Congress is committed to moving Peace Corps in an upward direction," she said.

Tschetter said the Peace Corps is likely to take on fewer new volunteers and to merge recruiting offices.

Amanda Beck, a spokeswoman for the Peace Corps, said the organization is cutting other costs as well -- including canceling subscriptions to "Newsweek" it has provided for volunteers for 20 years.

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