WASHINGTON–DC–Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and George Radanovich (R-CA) were joined by forty-eight of their House colleagues today in urging the leadership of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee to support pro-Armenian provisions in the fiscal year 2007 foreign aid bill–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Members of Congress cosigned a letter–addressed to the panel’s Chairman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY)–which would strengthen the hand of pro-Armenian members of the Subcommittee–most notably Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Joe Knollenberg–Steve Rothman (D-NJ)–Mark Kirk (R-IL)–and John Sweeney (R-NY). Representative Sweeney–who joined the panel last year–is one of only two Members of Congress of Armenian heritage.
The letter notes that members of Congress are "deeply troubled" that the Administration’s request for military aid for Azerbaijan is considerably higher then the request for Armenia. By signing the letter–legislators will add their voice to the effort to ensure that the agreement struck in 2001 between the White House and Congress to keep aid levels to these two countries equal is fully respected. In addition–the letter calls for a hard earmark of at least $75 million for Armenia–a one-year $5 million allocation for Karabagh–and the preservation of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
Members of Congress joining Representatives Pallone and Radanovich in cosigning the letter included: Reps. Tom Allen (D-ME)–Robert Andrews (D-NJ)–Xavier Becerra (D-CA)–Howard Berman (D-CA)–Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)–Eric Cantor (R-VA)–Lois Capps (D-CA)–Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)–John Conyers (D-MI)–Jim Costa (D-CA)–Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–William Delahunt (D-MA)–David Dreier (R-CA)–Chaka Fattah (D-PA)–Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)–Barney Frank (D-MA)–Scott Garrett (R-NJ)–Rush Holt (D-NJ)–Michael Honda (D-CA)–Dale Kildee (D-MI)–James Langevin (D-RI)–Sander Levin (D-MI)–Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)–Stephen Lynch (D-MA)–Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)–Edward Markey (D-MA)–Doris Matsui (D-CA)–Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)–James McGovern (D-MA)–John McHugh (R-NY)–Michael McNulty (D-NY)–Martin Meehan (D-MA)–Grace Napolitano (D-CA)–Donald Payne (D-NJ)–Collin Peterson (D-MN)–Bobby Rush (D-IL)–H. James Saxton (R-NJ)–Adam Schiff (D-CA)–Joe Schwarz (R-MI)–Christopher Shays (R-CT)–Brad Sherman (D-CA)–Rob Simmons (R-CT)–Mark Souder (R-IN)–Edolphus Towns (D-NY)–Diane Watson (D-CA)–Henry Waxman (D-CA)–Anthony Weiner (D-NY)–and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
Representatives Knollenberg–Pallone–and Rothman also submitted individual letters citing their foreign aid priorities for Armenia and Karabagh–among other countries.
The House Foreign Operations panel is set to review the FY 2007 foreign aid bill–which will then be considered by the full Appropriations Committee and then the full US House of Representatives. The Senate will finalize its own version–which will be reconciled with the House bill by a conference committee.