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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 21, 1999


Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 669, a bill authorizing appropriations for the Peace Corps for Fiscal Years 2000 through 2003, which passed the Congress with bipartisan support. This legislation represents a major step toward a goal that the Congress established for the Peace Corps in 1985, and that I reaffirmed in January 1998: expanding the Peace Corps to 10,000 volunteers. This is an important day in the history of the Peace Corps, and I wish to thank the many members of the Congress who helped make passage of this legislation possible. I also wish to congratulate Mark Gearan for his leadership and outstanding work as the Director of the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps and the women and men who serve our country as volunteers embody some of our finest traditions and values -- a spirit of service, a strong sense of altruism, and an enduring commitment to make the world a better place. Peace Corps volunteers have touched the lives of many people in more than 130 countries, and every American can take great pride in their service.

This bill will help ensure that many more of our citizens can offer their skills and serve our country as Peace Corps volunteers. This legislation is a strong statement of our Government's continued, bipartisan support for the work of our volunteers and their contributions to international understanding. In particular, I thank Senators Jesse Helms, Joseph Biden, and Paul Coverdell, who served as Director of the Peace Corps under President Bush, and Christopher Dodd, who served as Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I also express my appreciation to Representatives Ben Gilman, Sam Gejdenson, Tom Campbell, David Bonior, Donald Payne, and Earl Pomeroy. I also want to express my gratitude to the other returned Peace Corps volunteers who have continued their service to our country as Members of Congress: Representatives Tony Hall, Sam Farr, James Walsh, Christopher Shays, and Tom Petri.

Finally, I wish to thank the thousands of Peace Corps volunteers who are serving our country around the world. At the end of this fiscal year, more volunteers will be serve overseas than at any time in the last 25 years. Our country owes you a debt of gratitude for your service.

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