* Coalition of Armenian American Organizations Calls on the House International Relations Committee to Schedule a Vote on H.Res.398
WASHINGTON–Congressional support for the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.398) continued to gain momentum this week–with the number of cosponsors topping 100 and pressure increasing on the House International Relations Committee to move quickly to schedule a vote on the legislation.
The legislation (H.Res.398)–authored by Fresno–California Republican George Radanovich and Democratic Whip David Bonior from Michigan affirms the extensive US record on the Armenian Genocide. It specifically calls upon the President to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a "genocide" during his annual April 24th address–and to ensure that all US government officials dealing with foreign affairs are educated about the facts of the Armenian Genocide.
In a letter sent to members of Congress–the H.Res.398 Committee has pointed out that this legislation "represents a comprehensive congressional effort to address this first genocide of the twentieth century." The coalition letter also stressed that the adoption of H.Res.398 "will not only continue America’s commitment to the people of Armenia–but will also send a strong message that genocide and ethnic cleansing must not go unchecked."
The H.Res. 398 Committee represents a broad-based coalition of leading Armenian American organizations who have joined together to support this legislation. The coalition includes the Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics; Armenian Assembly of America; Armenian Bar Association; Armenian Evangelical World Council; Armenian General Benevolent Union; Armenian Missionary Association of America; Armenian National Committee of America; Armenian Relief Society of North America; Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – East; Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – West; Knights of Vartan; Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – East; and Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America – West.
Joining with Congressmen Radanovich and Bonior as cosponsors are Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and John Edward Porter (R-Ill.)–and Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY)–Robert Andrews (D-NJ)–Ken Bentsen (D-Texas)–Shelly Berkley (D-Nev.)–Howard Berman (D-Calif.)–Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.)–Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.)–Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.)–Thomas Bliley (R-Va.)–Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)–Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)–Tom Campbell (R-Calif.)–Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)–Gary Condit (D-Calif.)–Jerry Costello (D-Ill.)–Christopher Cox (R-Calif.)–William Coyne (D-Pa.)–Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)–Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.)–John Dingell (D-Mich.)–Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)–Robert Ehrlich (R-Md.)–Eliot Engel (D-NY)–Philip English (R-Pa.)–Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)–Sam Farr (D-Calif.)–Bob Filner (D-Calif.)–Michael Forbes (D-NY)–Barney Frank (D-Mass.)–Bob Fran’s (R-NJ)–Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.)–Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.)–Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)–Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)–Joe Hoeffel (D-Pa.)–Rush Holt (D-NJ)–Steve Horn (R-Calif.)–Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)–Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.)–Sue Kelly (R-NY)–Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)–Dale Kildee (D-Mich.)–Gerald Kleczka (D-Wisc.)–Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.)–Steven Kuykendall (R-Calif.)–John Larson (D-Conn.)–Rick Lazio (R-NY)–Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)–Sander Levin (D-Mich.)–William Lipinski (D-Ill.)–Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)–Nita Lowey (D-NY)–Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)–Matthew Martinez (D-Calif.)–Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.)–Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)–James McGovern (D-Mass.)–John McHugh (R-NY)–Michael McNulty (D-NY)–Martin Meehan (D-Mass.)–Carrie Meek (D-Fla.)–Robert Menendez (D-NJ)–Joe Moakley (D-Mass.)–James Moran (D-Va.)–Constance Morella (R-Md.)–Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)–Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.)–Richard Neal (D-Mass.)–Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)–John Olver (D-Mass.)–Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)–Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.)–James Rogan (R-Calif.)–Steven Rothman (D-NJ)–Marge Roukema (R-NJ)–Edward Royce (R-Calif.)–Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)–Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.)–H. James Saxton (R-NJ)–Christopher Shays (R-Conn.)–Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)–Mark Souder (R-Ind.)–Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)–Pete Stark (D-Calif.)–Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)–John Tierney (D-Mass.)–Edolphus Towns (D-NY)–Robert Underwood (D-Guam)–Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.)–Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)–Anthony Weiner (D-NY)–Robert Weygand (D-RI)–Frank Wolf (R-Va.)–Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)–and Albert Wynn (D-Md.).
The legislation faces powerful opposition from the Clinton Administration and the Turkish government. According to an article in the National Journal–H.Res. 398 "has sparked a major counterattack from the Turkish government. The Turkish ambassador–along with the government’s top lobbyists – former Reps. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Gerald Solomon (R-NY) met recently with House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY)…During their visits–the ambassador and the lobbying duo maintained that the resolution is inappropriate and could harm US corporations."
In addition to the lobbying efforts against this principled resolution–a State Department spokesperson spoke out against legislation on the Armenian Genocide during a March 27th briefing. The H.Res.398 Committee wrote to Secretary Albright on May 1 to ask her to clarify the Department’s position on the H.Res.398–but has yet to receive a response.