The 111th Congress will adjourn before the calendar year changes to 2011.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi will have the unique opportunity to end her term as Speaker of the House of Representatives with a strong moral stand.
She holds the power to schedule a floor vote on legislation urging the United States President to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide, to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide, and to make sure that the lessons of this atrocity are used to help prevent future crimes against humanity.
The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252) introduced by Representative Adam Schiff and 76 of his colleagues in March 2009 was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by Representative Howard Berman in March of this year. The resolution was reported out of committee on September 22nd for consideration by the entire House of Representatives.
H.Res. 252 has gained the co-sponsorship of 148 House members. The actual number of House members willing to vote for the measure is much higher.
This past summer, Speaker Pelosi, consistent with her long record in support of Armenian Genocide recognition, committed to schedule a vote on H.Res. 252 – a vote that she described as an expression of the American conscience – as soon as it was clear this human rights measure enjoyed the support of a majority in the House of Representatives.
The spirit of the victims of Genocide and the voices of the survivors and their progeny are calling on the Speaker to bring this resolution for a vote before the 111th Congress adjourns in the next 10 days. Armenians and all the world deserve to know where each member of the U.S. House of Representatives stands on this vital expression of our common American conscience.
There are some members of the House who do not want to face their conscience and would prefer avoiding having to take a stand against a clear case of genocide. As in the past, they will offer every manner of excuse – some old and others invented for this occasion. The fact remains, however, that none of these excuses should be allowed to prevent the elected representatives of the American people from the long overdue opportunity to vote up or down on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
The Speaker’s decision to bring H.Res. 252 to a vote will represent a victory over the forces of denial, just as its adoption by the full House will stand as a triumph of the truth.
As you know, a vote on Armenian Genocide resolutions by the entire House or Senate has been blocked for more than a quarter century. Every manner of obstacle has been thrown in the way of their adoption in 1985, 1987, 1990, 2000 and 2007 – ranging from foreign threats and domestic pressure to parliamentary tactics and procedural motions. We look to the Speaker to make sure that 2010 is the year this measure is brought to the floor and adopted by the full House of Representatives.
We know Speaker Pelosi to be a woman of conscience and call upon her to schedule a vote on H.Res.252 before the House adjourns.
Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region
Armenian National Committee of America – Eastern Region