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AHI Congratulates the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
March 11, 2010—No. 15 (202) 785-8430

AHI Congratulates the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution

 

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252, by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee by a narrow vote of 23 to 22 on March 4, 2010.

AHI congratulates the Armenian American community and commends the Committee’s action which calls on the president “to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.”

The committee passed the motion despite last-minute efforts by the Obama Administration which urged the Committee not to pass the resolution. National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), to state that passage of the legislation would be harmful to efforts to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations and “indicated that further congressional action could impede progress on normalization of relations."

At the hearing some members of Congress spoke about President Obama’s, Vice President Joe Biden’s and Secretary Clinton’s support of the resolution when they were senators. In fact, President Obama, as a candidate, said he "stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide."

When opponents of the resolution questioned the timing of the resolution Chairman Berman responded, "I have been in Congress 27 years and it has never been the right time" to take up this resolution. The House committee had approved previous resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide in 2000, 2005 and 2007 and the Senate debated the issue on the floor in 1990.

The representatives voting in favor of the resolution were: Gary Ackerman (D-NY); ShelleyBerkley (D-NV); Howard Berman (D-CA); Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Jim Costa (D-CA);JosephCrowley (D-NY); Keith Ellison (D-MN); EliotEngel (D-NY); Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS); Elton Gallegly (R-CA); Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ); Gene Green (D-TX); Ron Klein (D-FL); BarbaraLee (D-CA); Donald Manzullo (R-IL); Donald Payne (D-NJ); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Edward Royce (R-CA); Brad Sherman (D-CA); Albio Sires (D-NJ); Chris Smith (R-NJ); Diane Watson (D-CA); Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

The representatives voting against the resolution were: Barrett Gresham (R-SC); John Boozman (R-AR); Dan Burton (R-IN); Russ Carnahan (D-MO); Gerald Connolly (D-VA); William Delahunt (D-MA); Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE); Bob Inglis (R-SC); Connie Mack (R-FL); Michael McCaul (R TX); Michael McMahon (D-NY); Gregory Meeks (D-NY); Brad Miller (D-NC); Ron Paul (R-TX); Mike Pence (R-IN); Ted Poe (R-TX); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Mike Ross (D-AR); David Scott (D-GA); John Tanner(D-TN); Joe Wilson (R-SC). Not Voting: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

The members in italic are Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues members.

“We congratulate Chairman Howard Berman for not succumbing to the pressures of the Obama Administration, the major defense corporations doing business with Turkey and the paid lobbyists, including former House Majority leader Dick Gephardt, who supported recognition as a congressman, and brought the resolution to a vote. We also thank Greek American Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Shelley Berkley for their support of the bill,” AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis said.

On March 5, 2010, Secretary Clinton told reporters that "the Obama Administration strongly opposes the resolution that was passed by only one vote in the House committee, and we'll work very hard to make sure it does not go to the House floor."

In a March 9, 2010 article in The Hill, a Democratic leadership aide reportedly stated that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the resolution’s main sponsor, has no plans to bring the measure to the House floor until he is certain that he has enough support for it to pass. Currently, the resolution has 137 co-sponsors.

We urge the Greek American community to contact their U.S. representatives to urge co-sponsorship and support for H.Res. 252.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus and within the Greek American community.

 

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.