Statement By Speaker Hastert on Genocide Bill

"Because the President has raised gave national security concerns–he has requested that the House not consider H.Res.596–Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. I have acceded to this request.

I support this resolution and I supported bringing it to the floor. I believe that the Armenian people suffered a historic tragedy and that this resolution was a fitting condemnation of those events. But the President of the United States–the Commander and Chief of our Armed Forces–has asked us not to being this resolution to the House Floor.

The President believes that passage of this resolution may adversely impact the situation in the Middle East and risk the lives of Americans. This is not an idle request. We all know that the situation in the Middle East is unusually tense. The cease-fire now in place between Israel and the Palestinians is fragile. The Congress–while it has a right to express its opinions on critical issues of the day–also must be cognizant of the consequences of those opinions.

The President has made plain his very strong concerns about the timing of this resolution and its possible impact on our interests in the Middle East. We must take these concerns into consideration–especially given the latest developmen’s in the Middle East.

This is a bipartisan that I believe would have enjoyed support among the majority of the House. Every patriotic American should heed the President’s request. Current circumstances dictate that we proceed with caution–and for that reason–I have asked the Majority Leader to take H.Res. 596 off the schedule for the remainder of the 106th Congress. The President’s letter is attached.

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