WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America commented today on recent public statements by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) regarding their decision not to schedule a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252, during the last session of Congress.
“We value the long-standing friendship of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for our community and cause, but, while voicing our appreciation for their past support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution, we want to stress, in response to their recent comments, that we do not share their view that this legislation lacked the support of a bipartisan majority during their service as leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. ”
“As U.S. House Speaker and Majority Leader, Representatives Pelosi and Hoyer, had the majority – as reflected in the results of the Member-to-Member whipping effort that they requested – as well as both the authority and the opportunity to pass H.Res.252. Yet they chose not to allow a vote on this human rights measure. Had they demonstrated the political will to bring the Armenian Genocide Resolution to the House floor, over opposition from a Democratic White House and even voices in their own Caucus, it may have proven a difficult vote for some, but, just as surely, it would have been a majority vote for putting America on the right side of this issue,” added Hamparian.
The lead sponsors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, working with a team of their legislative colleagues, conducted an ongoing and extensive Member-to-Member whipping operation in the months prior to the close of the 111th Congress. Their findings that H.Res.252 enjoyed majority support confirmed feedback from a nationwide Armenian American grassroots contact campaign, the ANCA’s Washington, DC-based legislative outreach, and detailed analysis of past voting records. Less than one percent of all legislation before the U.S. House enjoyed the same level of strong bipartisan co-sponsorship as this resolution, which was publicly supported by the whips of both the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Conference.
Congresswoman Pelosi, who served as Speaker during the 111th Congress and has been a long-time advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition, wrote, in a recent column, that she: “joined supporters of the Armenian Genocide Resolution to try to build the necessary support to pass the resolution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the end of the day, the resolution (H. Res. 252) had 148 co-sponsors and there was serious concern that the resolution did not have the necessary 218 votes needed for passage.”
Congressman Steny Hoyer, who has been a longstanding supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition and served as House Majority Leader during the last session of Congress, offered remarks addressing H.Res.252 at the recent Capitol Hill observance of the Armenian Genocide. In his comments, which he later submitted to the Congressional Record, he noted that: “We share the same goal: seeing the truth of the Armenian Genocide recognized by Congress. I hope to see a bill recognizing the genocide pass, and I wish that had happened in December. Unfortunately, by our count, the votes were not there–and in our opinion, a loss would have been a set-back cheered by genocide deniers. But I applaud the work you to do preserve the memory and the lessons of this historic truth. And I believe the day will come when Congress recognizes that truth, as well. You can count on my vote.”