Congressional Republican Leadership Attacks Schiff Amendment

WASHINGTON–DC–In a front-page statement posted today on the web-page of the Speaker of the US House–Congressional Republican leaders–who have for the past eighteen months blocked the progress of legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide–attacked the adoption–yesterday–of the Schiff Amendment by the full US House–reported the Armenian National Committee (ANCA). The amendment restricts the Turkish government from using US foreign aid dollars to finance its campaign to defeat the Genocide Resolution–HRes 193.

The statement issued by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)–Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) states that–"we are strongly opposed to the Schiff Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill–and we will insist that conferees drop that provision in conference. . . Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades–and the deep foundation upon which our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment."

Armenian Americans have the opportunity to express their disappointment to the authors of this statement by visiting the ANCA website: www.anca.org.

"Speaker Hastert and his colleagues in the House leadership–having spent the past year and a half trying to kill the Genocide Resolution–are now trying to subvert the clear will of an overwhelming bi-partisan majority in support of this human rights measure," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We find it deeply offensive that these officials would allow a foreign nation– particularly one that so blatantly disdains the democratic values of the American people–to impose its dictates on our Congress."

Yesterday evening–the US House voted to approve the amendment–introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). The measure was passed by a voice vote and added to the fiscal year 2005 foreign aid bill–HRes 4818.

The Genocide Resolution–HRes 193–reaffirms US support for the Genocide Convention and cites the importance of remembering past crimes against humanity–including the Armenian Genocide–Holocaust–Cambodian and Rwandan genocides–in an effort to stop future atrocities. It faces intense opposition from the Turkish government–which has enlisted the backing of the White House in its efforts to press Congressional leaders to block this measure from being scheduled for a vote of the full House.

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