WASHINGTON–The House Appropriations Committee Tuesday passed the Fiscal Year 2008 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which included a number of provisions to assist and support Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Rep. Schiff requested strong funding for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and pivotal language affecting the region, much of which was incorporated into the measure.
The bill funds the U.S. international affairs budgets, including the U.S. Department of State, foreign military support programs through the Department of Defense, and most foreign aid. The bill will now be sent to the floor for a vote before the full House.
“Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are good friends and allies of the U.S. and this bill represents the strength of our close relationship,” Schiff said. “I am pleased that they will get this needed assistance, which will greatly benefit the people of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.”
The Fiscal Year 2008 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill:
Provides $68 million in aid to the Republic of Armenia;
Urges USAID to allocate up to $6 million to Nagorno Karabakh in humanitarian assistance;
Ensures assistance parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan is maintained by providing Armenia with $3 million in Foreign Military Financing funds and $300,000 in International Military Education and Training assistance;
Prevents further changes to the conditional waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which restricts U.S. aid to Azerbaijan until the President determines and reports to Congress that Azerbaijan is taking steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh; and
Provides a confidence-building measure to advance a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Rep. Schiff was recently appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Committee in the 110th Congress and is a member of its Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Financial Services Subcommittee, and the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.
"We appreciate the Appropriations Committee’s swift approval of the FY 2008 Foreign aid bill, which maintains military aid parity, elevates aid to Armenia above the President’s request, and increases U.S. aid to Nagorno Karabakh to $6 million," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We look forward to working with our friends on Capitol Hill, both in the Senate and during the conference committee process, to bring Armenia’s aid level at least to last year’s level of $75 million, and to ensure full funding of our request for $10 million in humanitarian and development aid to Nagorno Karabakh. We will work, as well, to secure Congressional support for the growth of the California-Armenia Trade Office, which has already proven its value in promoting increased commercial ties between Armenia and the Golden State."
In testimony submitted to the Foreign Operations Subcomittee on March 29, ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian touched upon a number of key issues, including:
1. Restoring parity in all military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan
2. Increasing economic Assistance to Armenia to at least $75 million.
3. Expanding U.S. Assistance to Nagorno Karabagh to at least $10 million in both humanitarian and development aid.
4. Preserving Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
5. Funding the California-Armenia Trade Office.
In a March 16 letter to Chairwoman Lowey, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) were joined by some 30 Members of Congress in urging $75 million in assistance to Armenia, $10 million in assistance to Nagorno Karabakh and calling for maintaining military aid parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Members of Congress joining Representatives Pallone and Radanovich in cosigning the letter to Chairwoman Lowey were: Joe Baca (D-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA), Mike Capuano (D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), William Delahunt (D-MA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Rush Holt (D-NJ), James Langevin (D-RI), Sander Levin (D-MI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Michael McNulty (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Diane Watson (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Anthony Weiner (D-NY).