Republican House Members Praised for Powerful Support on Key Initiatives

ANCA cites role of Rep. Knollenberg–Radanovich and others in advancing Armenian issues on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) cited key House Republicans for their leadership on a wide range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community–including support for Armenian genocide reaffirmation–strengthening US-Armenia economic relations–and ensuring parity in US military assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"We appreciate the leadership and value the support of the many Congressional Republicans who have consistently taken a principled stand on fundamental issues of concern to the Armenian American community," stated ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "In the coming 109th Congress–we look forward to working with these friends and with all Members committed to expanding US-Armenia relations–continuing US assistance–ensuring proper US recognition of the Armenian Genocide–and securing a lasting and equitable resolution to the Karabagh conflict."

Republican House Members including Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)–Genocide Resolution lead sponsor George Radanovich (R-CA)–Michigan Freshman Congressman Thaddeus McCotter–Indiana Republican Mark Souder (R-IN) and California Freshman Devin Nunes have been awarded an "A+" rating by the ANCA–based on a series of over 25 grading criteria–ranging from support on key legislation to the cosigning of over a dozen Congressional letters. A complete listing of Congressional grades will be posted on the ANCA website–www.anca.org–in the upcoming days. The specific achievemen’s of each of the "A+" Republican House Members are cited below.

Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI): Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair since 2001–Rep. Knollenberg has consistently received an "A+" grade from the ANCA. A senior member of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee–the Michigan legislator has continuously supported high levels of US assistance to Armenia and Karabagh–and fought to maintain military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In remarks delivered at the 10th annual ANCA Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill in April of 2004–Rep. Knollenberg spoke about Administration efforts to reduce assistance to Armenia. "There is no reason in the world why Armenia has to get stiff-armed–has to get stuck at a lower number. We will continue to scrap and claw and fight our way [in Congress] to make sure Armenia does get what it deserves," explained Knollenberg.

During this Congressional term–Rep. Knollenberg was the lead sponsor of legislation to permanently normalize US-Armenia trade relations (H.R.528). The legislation–which currently has 113 cosponsors–was adopted as part of a larger trade measure in the House and awaits final Senate approval. Rep. Knollenberg is also an original cosponsor of the genocide resolution–H.Res.193.

George Radanovich (R-CA): Throughout his years in the House–Rep. Radanovich has played a leadership role in genocide reaffirmation efforts–first leading a successful effort in 1996 to cut $3 million in US assistance to Turkey–a symbolic amount representing the amount allocated by the Government of Turkey for genocide denial lobbying activities in the US. During the current 108th Congress–Rep. Radanovich was joined by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg–and California Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) in advancing the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193). The legislation–which marks the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the Genocide Convention–was unanimously adopted by the House Judiciary Committee in May–2003–and currently has 111 cosponsors.

Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI): A freshman Congressman from Michigan–Rep. McCotter has consistently supported Congressional letters and legislation dealing with Armenian Genocide reaffirmation. In October 2003–he questioned a pro-Turkish panel of witnesses testifying before the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe about Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of Armenia-Turkey relations. Rep. McCotter–who was among the first to join the Congressional Armenian Caucus on taking office in January of 2003–has also been outspoken in his support for US aid to Armenia and Karabagh.

Mark Souder (R-IN): With an "A+" grade in the last two Congressional terms–Rep. Souder has been among the most consistent supporters of Armenian American concerns–cosigning almost every Congressional letter in support of US assistance to Armenia and Armenian genocide reaffirmation. In February of 2003–Rep. Souder participated in the "Pro-Armenia" Conference held in Paris–which brought together executive and legislative branch officials from countries around the world to discuss efforts to strengthen the political and economic future of Armenia. In an interview with the "Armenian Weekly" following the Conference–Rep. Souder commented that a highlight of the Conference for him was "the opportunity to meet Armenia’s from around the world–understanding the diversity of opinions of those of the Diaspora and yet their unity on the central importance of Armenian Genocide–and the economic potential of an Armenia based upon free market principles."

Devin Nunes (R-CA): Rep. Nunes received an "A+" rating during his first term in Congress for cosponsoring the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193) and legislation normalizing US-Armenia trade relation (H.R.528)–and co-signing a series of letters in support of US assistance to Armenia and Karabagh. Representing constituents in California’s Central Valley–Rep. Nunes has worked closely with the ANC chapter in the Fresno area.

Other House Republicans in the highest tier of support for Armenian American concerns include Representatives Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)–Michael Ferguson (R-NJ)–Scott Garrett (R-NJ)–Mark Kirk (R-IL)–Edward Royce (R-CA)–and John Sweeney (R-NY)–all of whom received an "A" from the ANCA. Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ)–Duke Cunningham (R-CA)–James Saxton (R-NJ)–and Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) received an "A-" rating for their leadership on Genocide affirmation efforts.

To review the specific records of all House and Senate members on each of the ANCA rating criteria–visit the ANCA Election 2004 section: www.anca.org/election/election_overview.asp

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