The ANCA carefully tracks Members of Congress on a range of issues of concern to Armenian Americans. We compile this information and present the profile of each Member in an easy-to-read Report Card format. Congressional grades and endorsements for the 116th Congress will be announced on October, 2020.

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ANCA Report Card: 114th Congress (2015-2016)

John Sarbanes

D- Maryland
District 3

VIEW CONGRESSIONAL BIO
2016 GRADE
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2020
2018
2016
2014
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Cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution (H. Res. 154)? Yes
Cosponsored Legislation Condemning the Genocide Against Christians and Other Minorities in the Middle East (H.Con.Res.75)? No
Cosponsored the Azerbaijan Democracy Act (H.R.4264)? No
Signed the October, 2015 Royce-Engel Letter Offering Common-Sense Solutions to Stop Azerbaijani Aggression Against Artsakh and Armenia? Yes
Signed the March, 2016 Royce-Sherman Letter Calling for Implementation of the Royce-Engel Proposals to End Azerbaijani Aggression? Yes
Signed the April, 2015 Armenian Genocide Centennial Letter to President Obama? Yes
Signed the March 2015 / 2016 Letters Supporting Pro-Armenian Foreign Aid Priorities? Yes
Participated in the April 2015 / 2016 Capitol Hill Commemorations of the Armenian Genocide? Yes
Participated in the December 2015 Capitol Hill Event Marking the 24th Anniversary of Nagorno Karabakh Republic Independence? No
Offered Remarks in 2015 / 2016 in Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide in the House of Representatives? Yes
Offered Remarks in 2015 / 2016 in Remembrance of the Pogroms in Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad in the House of Representatives? No
Offered Remarks in 2015 / 2016 Regarding Khojaly in the House of Representatives? No
Member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues? Yes

04/14/2016 - Rep. Sarbanes condemns Aliyev's aggression and warns of the dangers of Azerbaijan's military build-up, stating:

"The renewal of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh highlights the ongoing danger of Azerbaijan's aggressive military buildup. I condemn the incursion of Azerbaijani forces across the 1994 cease-fire line, and I call on the Obama Administration and my colleagues in Congress to demand that Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, abandon his reckless escalation and engage with the international community for a peaceful and sustainable resolution to the conflict."

04/23/15 - Remarks offered on the House floor in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide - Mr. Speaker, on April 24, the arc of the moral universe will intersect with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Many will bear witness to that intersection, but sadly, official recognition of the genocide by the United States Government will be conspicuously absent.

Let us review the facts. In 1915, more than 1.5 million Armenians were systematically annihilated by Ottoman-era Turkish authorities. Men, women, and children were massacred, deported, and condemned to death marches into the Syrian Desert, where they died of thirst and starvation -- no final rights, no burial, an assault on the dignity of a dignified and proud people.

This indisputable tragedy of history has been acknowledged by innumerable scholars and historians, including the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, and no less than 53 Nobel laureates. The European Parliament and Pope Francis recently joined the chorus that honestly labels this horrific chapter of Turkey's history a genocide.

Hopelessly infected by the disease of denial, modern-day Turkish authorities have now made it clear they were never going to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the genocide with anything approaching candor, honesty, or the most minimal degree of self-reflection.

It heaps insult upon injury that they have chosen the genocide anniversary of April 24 to commemorate something wholly different, the 100th anniversary of the landing of British imperial forces at Gallipoli, a landing that actually occurred the next day, on April 25, 1915.

Turkey's treatment of the Armenian genocide is no surprise. It is a conditioned reflex that has been codified into the laws of the state. In Turkey, anyone who uses the word ``genocide'' to describe the massacre of the Armenians is subject to criminal punishment under article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

Obviously, we should have dramatically higher expectations for our own country. That is the reason that, as a Member of Congress who has long supported a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide, I have dreaded the prospect that the 100th anniversary would come and go without official recognition from either the United States Congress or the President of the United States.

I share the deep disappointment and sense of betrayal felt by the Armenian people and all who support their cause. It is lamentable that, on Capitol Hill, advocacy for recognition is being undermined every day by Turkey's intense lobbying campaign to block passage of the Armenian genocide resolution.

In the face of this, it is easy to be cynical and angry, but we should remind ourselves and be inspired that, on April 24, hundreds of thousands of Americans will defy the lack of official recognition with their own personal and heartfelt acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide.

In Turkey, there are brave citizens who, at great personal risk, condemn state authorities for their tragic silence. Ultimately, the voices of individual citizens have a special power to move the heart, in this instance, to bless the unmarked graves of 1.5 million Armenians whose own voices and spirits were trampled into the ground 100 years ago.

This year, I will resist the temptation to mark the anniversary of the Armenian genocide with anger and frustration at the lack of official recognition from those who should know better; rather, I will draw strength from the conviction that the arc of the moral universe will ultimately bend toward justice, toward the eternal memory of those who perished in this undeniable tragedy of history.

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