Sending Office: Honorable John Garamendi
As we work to bring America through COVID-19 crisis, it is essential that we begin a widespread effort to conduct contact tracing of infections, ensure the flow of medical supplies, and perform other vital response efforts. America already has a set of dedicated,
service-minded volunteers ready to mobilize toward this goal, and this legislation will strengthen our ability to deploy them to help America combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Peace Corps Volunteers whose service abroad was curtailed due to the pandemic would form a core part of this critical volunteer response corps, along with volunteers from AmeriCorps and others. This bill is a companion bill to legislation introduced in
the Senate by Senators Markey and Van Hollen, and has the endorsement of the National Peace Corps Association.
The UNITE Act would require the following essential measures:
- Requires the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to prioritize activities related to the coronavirus and to increase recruitment of AmeriCorps volunteers to 500,000 (approximately 75,000 currently serve). Additionally, it permanently sets
the compensation floor for such volunteers at 200 percent of the poverty level, roughly double what it is today.
- Requires CNCS, in the selection of volunteers, to give priority consideration to unemployed veterans, others unemployed due to the coronavirus, and AmeriCorps volunteers and Peace Corps volunteer leaders whose service involuntarily ended.
- Authorizes the funds necessary to hire, train, and administer 10,000 additional FEMA Cadre of On-Call Response/Recovery Employees (CORE) to perform contact tracing of those infected by the coronavirus, provide logistical support for the supply chain of
medical equipment, and to fulfill other disaster and public health related needs.
- Directs the Director of the Peace Corps to extend health benefits for evacuated Peace Corps volunteers for six months and to waive all non-medical application requirements for reenrollment of all volunteers wishing to return to the Peace Corps service after
operations of the Agency resume.
- Requires a report from the Director of the Peace Corps, not later than 30 days after enactment, that details progress of the Agency to offer reenrollment of each evacuated Peace Corps volunteer and its plan to expeditiously return the roughly 7,300 volunteers
abroad once the suspension of Peace Corps operations ends.
Please join us in this critical effort to build a volunteer response corps to combat COVID-19! Please reach out to Tigran.Agdaian@mail.house.gov or 202-225-1880 to co-sponsor.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0