WASHINGTON–Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) and Rep. Jim Rogan (R-Calif.) introduced resolutions in the Senate and House this week condemning the violent acts in the Armenian parliament–which resulted in the deaths of Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan–Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchian and six government officials–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The legislation went on to stress the long-standing alliance and friendship between the US and Armenia.
Introduced on October 29–the Abraham Bill (S.Con.Res. 63) "deplores the slaying of the Prime Minister of Armenia" and the other victims–and commen’s the efforts of the late Prime Minister and the Armenian Government for their "commitment to democracy–the rule of law–and for supporting free market movemen’s internationally." The resolution goes to urge that the Congress "cherish the strong friendship between Armenia and the United States."
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)–a co-sponsor of the Senate resolution– gave an emphatic speech on the floor of the US Senate on Friday– offering his condolences to the families of the victims–and calling on the US to reaffirm its solidarity with the Republic of Armenia. "We must take this opportunity to once again send a message to the world and the people of Armenia that we stand with Armenia in this time of tragedy and in the future–on more hopeful days–as it continues its efforts at building democracy in their country," stated Reed.
To date–other cosponsors of the resolution include Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senators Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)–Robert Bennett (R-Utah)–Susan Collins (R-Maine)–Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)–John Edwards (D-NC)–Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)–John Kerry (D-Mass.)–Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)–and John Warner (R-Va.).
A similar resolution was introduced by Rep. James Rogan (R-Calif.) in the House of Representatives on October 28.
H.Con.Res. 216 to date has garnered 34 original cosponsors–including Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and John Edward Porter (R-Ill.)–Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) and Representatives Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii)–Bill Barrett (R-Neb.)–Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.)–Mary Bono (R-Calif.)–Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)–Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)–Jerry Costello (D-Ill.)–Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–John Dingell (D-Mich.)–Michael Doyle (D-Penn.)–David Dreier (R-Calif.)–Eliot Engel (D-NY)–Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)–Bob Fran’s (R-NJ)–Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas)–Stephen Horn (R-Calif.)–Sander Levin (D-Mich.)–Nita Lowey (D-NY)–Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)–Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)–James McGovern (D-Mass.)–Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.)–Martin Meehan (D-Mass.)–Robert Menendez (D-NJ)–Constance Morella (R-Md.)–Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.)–Joseph Pitts (R-Penn.)–John Tierney (D-Mass.)–Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.)–Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)–and Rober Weygand (D-RI).
"We join with Senator Abraham–Representative Rogan and all those who have spoken out condemning the terrible tragedy in Armenia," stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We thank members of Congress for their continued support for strengthened US-Armenia relations."
House Members continued to offer their condolences in light of Wednesday’s tragic events in the Armenian parliament and pledged US support strengthening the established democratic framework in Armenia.
"Armenia has been a good friend of our Nation–and America stands ready to continue to provide the assistance needed to our friends to help them overcome this tragedy," remarked House International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY).
Maryland Republican Connie Morella–who led a Congressional delegation on a visit to Armenia–Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan in August of this year–had this to say about Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan–Karen Demirchian and the six government officials who perished in this senseless tragedy: "We had the opportunity to personally meet with these individuals who were clearly professionals on all they did–dedicated to the well-being of the country and its people–and repeatedly demonstrated their obvious commitment to bringing peace and prosperity to the region."
Iowa Republican Greg Ganske–who also traveled to Armenia this summer as part of a surgical team–reminded his colleagues that "it was in about 1954 that we had a shooting in this very room [House Chamber]–and when you have violence in the midst of democracy–it sends a chill down all of our backs." Rep. Rush Holt echoed these thoughts–noting that "Their senseless deaths present a tragic loss to Armenia–and to freedom and democracy worldwide."
Armenia has made "much progress since the Armenian Genocide in 1915," stated Illinois Democrat William Lipinski. "The Ottoman Empire subjected the Armenia’s to an eight year long killing spree that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 1.5 million Armenia’s. . .We all know that rebuilding a ravaged nation requires much blood–sweat and tears–but the Armenian people have worked long and hard to make Armenia into the democratic nation it is today."
House Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat John Dingell (D-MI) concurred–stating that the Armenian people have "proved their resilience in the face of tragedy before–and I have no doubt that they will endure today’s tragic occurrence–recognize that a madman’s bullet can never put an end to a people’s dreams–and keep moving forward on the path of peace and freedom."
"My heartfelt sympathy and earnest prayers are with the Armenian American community–the people of Armenia and the families of the victims of this senseless tragedy," stated California Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. "We join with freedom loving peoples throughout the world in expressing solidarity with President Kocharian and the Armenia people as they continue to promote democracy in their great country," remarked Rep. John McNulty (D-NY).
As reported earlier–President Bill Clinton–Vice-President Al Gore and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have all spoken out in light of the senseless murders of the Armenian Government officials. They were joined by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone and Representatives George Radanovich–Patrick Kennedy–James Rogan–Michael Capuano–and Martin Meehan.