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2020-07-24 18:04
U.S. HOUSE PASSES ARTSAKH AID AMENDMENT
The U.S. House cast a powerful vote in support of Artsakh aid, adopting a bi-partisan ANCA-backed amendment led by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), Representatives TJ Cox (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and more than 35 of their House colleagues to continue life-saving demining assistance, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The vote represents a powerful rebuke to the Azerbaijani government-driven, State Department-supported effort to end Artsakh’s demining program, despite its remarkable record of having removed tens of thousand of landmines and saving countless lives.

“Saving lives and limbs in Artsakh – that is what Congress did today – with the united effort of thousands of ANCA supporters around the country,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “The ANCA thanks Congresswoman Speier and her colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – who faced down a blizzard of vicious attacks by Azerbaijan and its allies.”

“Moving forward – we will press ahead in the Senate and make sure the U.S. Agency for International Development completes America’s noble de-mining mission. The ANCA will not rest, we will not retreat, until Artsakh is landmine free,” continued Hamparian.

The bi-partisan Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) aid amendment to H.R.7608 was adopted as part of a larger “en bloc” group of amendments backed by the House majority. As is often the case in the U.S. House, this “en bloc” was approved on a party line vote. The Artsakh amendment calls for $1.4 million in U.S. aid for the continuing life-saving de-mining efforts of The HALO Trust. House members joining Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in advancing the amendment were: Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Danny Davis (D-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Susie Lee (D-NV), Andy Levin (D-MI), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL) Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Max Rose (D-NY), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Janet Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Lori Trahan (D-MA), and Juan Vargas (D-CA). No other amendment to the FY2021 Foreign Aid Bill had as many co-sponsors.

The Artsakh aid amendment was strongly supported by the Hellenic American Leadership Council and In Defense of Christians.

The ANCA is currently working with Senate leaders to include Artsakh aid in their version of the FY2021 Foreign Aid Bill, yet to be taken up by the Appropriations Committee.