Letter to the Editor of Massis Post: Armenian Americans Must Mobilize against Joseph S. Berman’s Superior Court Nomination
December 6, 2013 Letter to the Editor of Massis Post: Massachusetts Governor...
WASHINGTON, DC — The US House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which calls for $40 million in economic assistance to Armenia. The Subcommittee’s allocation is on par with the Administration’s request.
In the context of the ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations, and in line with historic spending reductions previously approved by the House of Representatives, the Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia Account (AEECA), where funding for Armenia is included, dropped by some $115 million between FY 2010 and FY 2012 to the current proposed level of $626.7 million, a more than 15 percent reduction. In fact, many of the accounts in the Bill have also been cut between 10 to 20 percent when compared to the FY 2011-2010 levels.
The Subcommittee’s Bill did not specify funding levels for Nagorno Karabakh. However, Congress has routinely called for up to $10 million in annual U.S. assistance. The Subcommittee’s Bill did call for funds to be made available “for confidence-building measures and other activities in furtherance of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including in Nagorno Karabakh.”
Earlier this year, a bipartisan letter spearheaded by Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) urged the Subcommittee Members to provide robust funding for Armenia and at least $10 million in humanitarian and development assistance to Nagorno Karabakh. The letter also highlighted, among other issues, the U.S.-Armenia military relationship and Armenia’s cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts and its current and past deployment of forces in furtherance thereof; Azerbaijan’s ongoing war rhetoric and cease-fire violations; and the importance of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
While the Administration’s budget request provided $3 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Armenia and Azerbaijan, and $450,000 more to Azerbaijan in International Military Education Training (IMET), the Subcommittee’s draft legislation did not specifically delineate funding levels, but did call for military parity for Armenia and Azerbaijan.
With passage by the Subcommittee, the Bill is scheduled to be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee on August 3.