WASHINGTON, DC – In a move welcomed today by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), two of the nation’s most prominent Senators – Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and leading 2008 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY) – agreed to cosponsor S.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
“We’re very gratified that two prominent national leaders – Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid – agreed today to join with a growing number of their Senate colleagues in supporting the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “As the growth in cosponsors demonstrates, this anti-genocide measure clearly enjoys the support of a broad, bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress.”
The Senate resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide was introduced last month by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV). The measure is a companion to U.S. House resolution, H.Res.106, introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and Foreign Affairs Committee members Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI). With the addition this week of Tim Bishop (D-NY), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), David Reichart (R-WA), John Salazar (D-CO), and Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the House measure currently has over 190 cosponsors.
Joining Senators Durbin and Ensign as cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide resolution are Wayne Allard (R-CO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Sununu (R-NH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
In a powerful speech today on the Senate floor, Senator Bararba Boxer, a long-standing and energetic champion of Armenian Genocide recognition, stressed that she is “proud to be an original co-sponsor of Senator Richard Durbin’s Senate Resolution 106. The California legislator, speaking to her Senate colleagues, argued forcefully that, “We must recognize the genocide because it’s the right thing to do. We must recognize the Armenian Genocide to help shed light on the darkness and move toward a more humane world.”
Last week, during remarks at a Washington, DC breakfast for Illinois constituents, Senator Barak Obama, fielded a question from ANCA Eastern U.S. Executive Director Karine Birazian about his support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution. In his response, he explained to the audience the basic facts about the Genocide and promised to give careful consideration to cosponsoring the measure. Senator Obama serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and is among the top contenders for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. His remarks can be viewed on YouTube:
The increase in Senate and House support for the Armenian Genocide resolutions follows an intensive two-day Capitol Hill advocacy program in March, organized by the ANCA and the Genocide Intervention Network, dedicated to ending the cycle of genocide. Over 100 anti-genocide advocates from across the United States participated in the grassroots campaign, reaching out to all 535 Senate and House offices. The Washington, DC component of the program was followed by local activist meetings in Congressional districts across the U.S. during the recently-concluded two-week April district work period.
Armenian American grassroots efforts are being opposed by successive waves of Turkish parliamentary delegations who are seeking to convince Representatives and Senators to reject Armenian Genocide recognition by threatening a break in U.S.-Turkey relations. This week’s six-member Turkish lobby team included former Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Sukru Elekdag, and former Ambassador to Germany Onur Oymen.