Schiff Critical of Speaker Hastert’s Opposition to Armenian Genocide Amendment

House leadership vow to take Schiff Amendment out of final bill–block Armenian genocide resolution

WASHINGTON–DC–California Congressman Adam Schiff responded on Friday–to a joint statement by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert–Majority Leader Tom DeLay–and Majority Whip Roy Blunt–opposing the Schiff amendment on the Armenian Genocide.

In their statement–the House Majority Leadership conveyed their determination to drop the Schiff amendment from the final version of the FY 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (HR 4818)–and intend to block the consideration of HR 193–a resolution officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide–for the remainder of the 108th Congress.

"These are completely unacceptable positions of the House Majority Leadership," Congressman Schiff said. "To stand in the way of acknowledging the Armenian Genocide is to deny the memory of 1.5 million victims."

On Thursday–the House of Representatives voted to adopt an amendment sponsored by Congressman Schiff to the House version of the Foreign Operations spending bill. The amendment prohibits the government of Turkey from using US foreign aid to lobby against HR 193–a resolution that officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide and marks the 15th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan signing the 1987 Genocide Convention Implementation Act (Also known as the Proxmire Act–this put the United States on record as being strongly opposed to the heinous crime of genocide).

HR 193 passed the House Judiciary Committee on May 22–2003–shortly after its introduction on April 10–2003. Since then–the resolution has languished on the House calendar for over a year.

Congressman Schiff–who has consistently fought for official US recognition of the Armenian genocide–said he firmly believes in the appropriate and accurate commemoration of the event.

"Our relationship with Turkey is important," Congressman Schiff wrote–"but that relationship must not compel us to acquiesce in a shameful unwillingness by Turkey to confront the actions of its Ottoman forbears…

"I am deeply troubled by your assertion that you will not schedule HR 193 for consideration by the House of Representatives. Your refusal to allow the genocide resolution to be brought up for a vote directly contradicts your promise–made in a meeting with Armenian-American community leaders in my congressional district in 2000–that you would bring the Armenian Genocide Resolution to a floor vote in the United States House of Representatives.

"Mr. Speaker–we are still waiting and the world is watching. You may not attach great importance to memorializing the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. Yesterday evening–the House said otherwise."

Congressman Schiff is a Member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus–a co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District–which includes the communities of Alhambra–Altadena–Burbank–East Pasadena–East San Gabriel–Glendale–Monterey Park–Pasadena–San Gabriel–South Pasadena and Temple City.

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