WASHINGTON–DC–Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and George Radanovich (R-CA) called on their US House colleagues Saturday to join them in cosigning a letter calling on the leadership of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee to support pro-Armenian provisions in the fiscal year 2007 foreign aid bill–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
This bipartisan expression of support–addressed to the panel’s Chairman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY)–strengthens the hand of pro-Armenian members of the Subcommittee–most notably Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Joe Knollenberg–Steve Rothman (D-NJ)–Mark Kirk (R-IL)–and John Sweeney (R-NY). Representative Sweeney–who joined the panel last year–is one of only two Members of Congress of Armenian heritage.
The letter notes that members of Congress are "deeply troubled" that the Administration’s request for military aid for Azerbaijan is considerably higher than the request for Armenia. By signing the letter–legislators will add their voice to the effort to ensure that the agreement struck in 2001 between the White House and Congress to keep aid levels to these two countries equal is fully respected. In addition–the letter calls for a hard earmark of at least $75 million for Armenia–a one-year $5 million allocation for Karabagh–and the preservation of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
"We want to thank Congressmen Radanovich and Pallone in urging the Foreign Operations Subcommittee to support provisions in the fiscal year 2007 foreign aid bill of special importance to Armenian Americans," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We also value the advocacy for pro-Armenian issues from within this panel by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Joe Knollenberg–the leadership of Chairman Jim Kolbe and Ranking Democrat Nita Lowey–and the support of Representatives Steve Rothman–John Sweeney–Mark Kirk–Jesse Jackson–Jr.–Carolyn Kilpatrick–Chaka Fattah–and our other friends."