Rep. Speier Backs Reprogramming U.S. Aid Package to Help Armenia Combat COVID-19

Longtime ANCA San Francisco/Bay Area leader Roxanne Makasdjian questions Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA) about the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic and assistance to Armenia.

“It Makes All the Sense in the World” – Rep. Jackie Speier

SAN FRANCISCO—Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, has voiced strong support for reprogramming already appropriated U.S. aid to help Armenia contain the COVID-19 crisis, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

During an ANCA–San Francisco/Bay Area tele-townhall meeting with Congresswoman Speier, she responded to a question on repurposing Armenia aid from longtime ANCA leader Roxanne Makasdjian, saying: “The effort to redirect some of the $40 million that I was able to get into the budget for this fiscal year, is something that we will certainly pursue and it makes all the sense in the world, when you are in a pandemic like this, what’s the most urgent need? The urgent need is to provide care to those who are sick, to prevent those from getting sick, and certainly to test those who may or may not be exposed.”

On April 3, ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian called on Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to immediately reprogram $25 million from the Congressional appropriated aid package for Armenia as part of an expanded U.S. assistance program to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic with urgently needed medical equipment and supplies, technical assistance, and support for at-risk families. On March 24, he formally requested that U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, expand support for the COVID-19 related efforts of Armenia’s Ministry of Health, the American University of Armenia’s Center for Health Services Research, and social service organizations like the Armenian Relief Society.

ANCA supporters from across America are advocating for expanded U.S. assistance to Armenia and Artsakh for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The ANCA has thanked the State Department for its initial $1.1 million emergency allocation, welcoming new aid and encouraging the reprogramming of already appropriated assistance – consistent with the forward-leaning approach of the European Union.

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