Washington, DC – Over the last two months, dozens of Members of Congress have cosponsored pro-Armenian resolutions pending in Congress. Four pro-Armenian resolutions have been introduced in the 117th Congress, namely H.Res.240, Calling on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians; H.R.7555, the Armenian Genocide Education Act; H.Res.1351, Condemning Azerbaijan’s unprovoked military attack on Armenia; and H.Res.1400, Condemning atrocities committed by the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Following the Second Nagorno Karabakh War of 2020 launched by Azerbaijan, H. Res. 240, “calling on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians,” was introduced on March 16, 2021 by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), his Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), and 26 original cosponsors. Seven new cosponsors have been added in the last few weeks bringing the total number of supporters to 79 Members of Congress. The non-binding, sense of the House resolution is pending in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
To mark the 107th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, long-time friend of the Armenian American community Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R.7555, the “Armenian Genocide Education Act” on April 21, 2022 along with the five Armenian Caucus co-chairs and 44 original cosponsors. The bill “directs the Library of Congress to carry out activities to support Armenian Genocide education programs” in the United States. Five new cosponsors have been added in recent weeks bringing the total number of support to 77 Members of Congress. The bill has been referred to the Committee on House Administration.
Hours after Azerbaijan launched another major military invasion, this time on Armenia’s sovereign border, Chairman Schiff and the Armenian Caucus co-chairs introduced H.Res.1351, “condemning Azerbaijan’s unprovoked military attack on Armenia,” on September 14, 2022. The bill quickly garnered bi-partisan support, has added 11 new cosponsors in October, and currently has 61 Members of Congress signed onto the symbolic resolution that is pending in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Azerbaijan’s September 2022 military invasion of Armenia again showed the world the barbaric nature of petro-terrorist Ilham Aliyev’s military forces as video’s emerged on social media showing Azeri military officers committing war crimes during the assault, such as raping and mutilating the body of a captured female Armenian service officer and surrendered Armenian soldiers being executing at close range by Azeri military gunfire. Reports of these atrocities prompted Rep. Jacie Speier (D-CA), a lifetime fighter for women and human rights, introduced H.Res.1400, “condemning atrocities committed by the Republic of Azerbaijan” on September 28, 2022. The symbolic bill has collected 21 additional cosponsors and is likewise pending in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Following a busy September, Congress went into recess on October 1 in order to allow members to campaign for November’s midterm election. Congress is expected to return after the election for a ‘lame duck’ session to pass priority bills and critical legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual must-pass defense bill which has not yet cleared the Senate. The new 118th Congress will begin in January 2023, meaning all of the resolutions not passed before the end of the year would have to be re-introduced next year.
“We thank Members of Congress for their outpouring of support for Armenia, Armenian Genocide education, and Armenian American issues as we collectively race toward the finish line, and to the Armenian Caucus leadership for spearheading these important and timely initiatives,” stated Armenian Council of America Board Chairman Sevak Khatchadorian. “There’s important work still left to do and we urge House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Meeks and House Administration Committee Chairwoman Lofgren to pass these resolutions before the clock runs out in December,” he said.
As a grassroots organization, ACA is dedicated to working with all political leaders, offering Armenian related news, analysis and resources for policymakers, media, students and activists, advocating issues important to Armenian Americans. The ACA also aims to strengthen U.S. – Armenia and U.S. – Artsakh ties, the development of programs promoting sustainable economic growth and good governance in Armenia, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship.