Wednesday, September 24, 2008

BUSH CUTTING BACK PEACE CORPS

Inter Press Service - As the U.S. government continues its planning for a 700-billion-dollar bailout of the financial sector, the Peace Corps -- one of the United States' most successful foreign policy programs -- is being cut back due to a budget shortfall of 18 million dollars.

In 2001, President George W. Bush announced he would double the size of the Peace Corps by fiscal 2007, to 14,000 volunteers. But the popular program is currently some 6,000 volunteers short of that goal, and budgetary problems are forcing it to eliminate 400 new volunteers as well as postponing -- in some cases, indefinitely -- the deployment of volunteers already approved.

The Corps is also seeking to cut costs by consolidating some of its recruiting offices in the U.S. and deferring the hiring of some new personnel overseas. It has asked its managers in Washington and its 11 regional offices to reduce their budgets by 15 percent. Overseas, many of the Corps' foreign posts are reducing spending by consolidating two or more employee positions into one and reducing time devoted to volunteer training.

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