WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees will meet separately this week to draft their respective versions of the Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) foreign aid bill, a measure which will include a number of appropriations and policy provisions of special concern to Armenian Americans, reported the reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The House Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to meet this Wednesday, July 16th, and the Senate full Appropriations Committee is set to gather the following day, Thursday, July 17th.
In March of this year, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) were joined by thirty-seven of their House colleagues in urging Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Frank Wolf (R-VA) to support six priorities aimed at advancing U.S. interests and American values in Armenia and the surrounding region:
1) Cutting all military aid to Azerbaijan due to its threats of renewed war
2) Allocating $5 million in military aid to Armenia
3) Continuing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act
4) Allocating $70 million in economic aid to Armenia
5) Allocating $10 million in development aid to Nagorno Karabagh
6) Lifting barriers to U.S.-Nagorno Karabagh contact and communications
The budget proposed by the White House this February sought to dramatically slash aid to Armenia by 59%, and, once again, proposed tipping the military aid balance in favor of Azerbaijan, despite Baku’s threats to use it growing military arsenal to restart its war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.
Over the past several months, rallied by the ANCA, Armenian Americans have been in touch with their legislators about the dangers of the President’s proposed cuts in aid to Armenia, and in support of a constructive set of foreign policies toward Armenia and the region.
Click here for a seven-page ANCA briefing memo on Armenian American foreign aid priorities.