Key House Panel Set to Consider FY 2017 Foreign Aid Priorities on Thursday

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ANCA Presses for Expanded Aid to Artsakh, Targeted Assistance for Syrian Armenians

WASHINGTON—Armenian American foreign aid priorities will be among the broad range of issues considered this Thursday by members of the influential U.S. House subcommittee tasked with drafting the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 foreign assistance bill, setting the stage for full House and Senate consideration in upcoming months, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The ANCA has been advocating for inclusion of Armenian American priorities in the FY2017 foreign aid bill, set to be considered by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations on Thursday, June 23.

While funding trends and broad data are shared soon after the Subcommittee’s consideration, the complete text of the measure is traditionally not released until the full House Appropriations Committee review or “mark-up,” which typically follows the subcommittee action by a week or more.

No date has yet been set for Senate consideration of its version of the FY 2017 foreign aid bill, though with both houses of Congress going out of session in mid-July, initial consideration is likely to take place during the coming weeks.

Among the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) foreign aid priorities being advanced by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is an appropriation of at least $5 million in aid to Nagorno-Karabagh for humanitarian and developmental programs, including the urgently needed expansion and modernization of the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center, a regional clinic serving children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.  In addition to supporting the vital, life-saving work of this Center, the ANCA is encouraging House and Senate appropriators to support a broad range of other foreign aid priorities of special concern to Armenian Americans and other friends of Armenia, including:

–  Withdraw snipers and heavy arms, add OSCE observers, and deploy gunfire locator systems.

–  Allocating at least $40 million in U.S. economic assistance to Armenia, targeted to growing the U.S.-Armenia trade and investment relationship.

–  Appropriating at least $10 million in emergency aid to help Armenia settle the nearly 20,000 people who have fled to Armenia from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

These priorities were also shared in greater detail in ANCA testimony submitted by Legislative Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian earlier this year and available here.

The ANCA launched an online action alert——in support of Armenian American FY17 foreign aid priorities, offering pro-Armenia and Artsakh advocates an easy way to reach out to their Senators and Representatives about the community’s FY2017 foreign aid priorities.

In online letters to legislators, grassroots advocates are highlighting that: “The United States has long enjoyed friendly relations with Armenia, based upon shared democratic and humanitarian values and enduring common interests in a secure, stable, peaceful and democratic Caucasus.” These letters note that: “Armenia has sent troops to support U.S., NATO and other international operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kosovo, and is exploring a new peacekeeping mission to Mali. Domestically, Armenia has—despite ongoing Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades—developed strong democratic institutions and undertaken exemplary free market reforms. For its part, the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh continues to strengthen its democratic institutions, holding widely-praised free and fair local and national elections. Despite Baku’s escalating aggression Nagorno-Karabagh remains committed to working with the OSCE Minsk Group to reach a fair and enduring peace.”

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Key House Panel Set to Consider FY 2017 Foreign Aid Priorities on Thursday