WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Raffi Hamparian recently discussed the Armenian American community’s foreign policy priorities with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was unanimously selected on November 15 by House Republicans to continue serving as Speaker for the coming session of Congress.
Hamparian underscored the ANCA’s eagerness to support the efforts of Speaker Ryan and his newly elected GOP leadership team, as well as House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, to advance bipartisan issues of concern to Armenian American voters during the upcoming 115th Congress, which will convene in January of 2017.
“I was pleased to have an opportunity to exchange views with the newly selected Speaker of the House, a leader with deep roots in the Racine, Wisconsin area – home to a vibrant Armenian community,” said Hamparian. “The ANCA has a keen interest in working with Speaker Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to engage the incoming administration on Armenian American issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, our legislative priorities of ending U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, security and self-determination for the independent Artsakh Republic, and the growth of U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations.”
Commenting on their meeting, following the November 8th elections, Hamparian added that the ANCA will work with the House leadership and Congressional Republican friends to reach out to the Trump transition team and incoming Administration. Among the priorities, Administration and Congressional are:
— An end to U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide.
— U.S. support for security and self-determination for the independent Artsakh Republic (Nagorno Karabakh)
— U.S. pressure on Baku to stop obstructing the Royce-Engel proposals for Nagorno Karabakh peace.
— Continued direct U.S. assistance to Nagorno Karabakh, to support rehabilitation efforts and de-mining activity.
— A U.S.-Armenia Tax Treaty to eliminate the threat of double taxation.
— A Millennium Challenge compact with Armenia to support Science, Technology, Educational and Math (STEM) education.
— A fundamental reevaluation of U.S.-Turkey ties, including limits on arms sales and the re-positioning of NATO nuclear weapons.
— Increased assistance to help Armenia serve as a safe haven for Armenians, Christians, and other Middle East refugees.
— Close gaps in the delivery of need-based humanitarian aid to Armenians and other at-risk communities in Syria.
The ANCA endorsed Speaker Ryan in the 2016 election. He is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and has historically been supportive of Armenian American issues in Congress.
In 2010, during consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252), Congressman Ryan signed a letter to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledging his support for this bipartisan genocide prevention measure. Speaker Pelosi had shared with the ANCA the need to secure Republican support for the measure as a requirement for scheduling it for a vote of the full House. Congressman Ryan stepped forward, joining with several of his senior House Republican colleagues in pledging, in writing, to vote in favor of H.Res.252.
Despite this letter, Speaker Pelosi did not bring the Armenian Genocide resolution to a vote.