Washington briefing: Members of Congress react to administration’s Armenia aid request

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Saturday May 16, 2009

Rep. Brad Sherman.

Washington - Reps. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.), co-chairs of the congressional Armenian caucus, said they "will work to restore funding for Armenia." Their statement came a day after the Obama administration requested aid levels that were lower than funds appropriated in Fiscal Year 2009.

"We are confident that as the [Fiscal Year 2010] appropriations process moves forward, Congress will increase economic assistance to Armenia beyond the Administration's budget proposal and will provide aid to Nagorno Karabakh," Reps. Pallone and Kirk said on May 8.

Also reacting to the request was Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.) who briefly raised the issue during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew on May 13. Mr. Sherman mentioned the issue along with several others, asking Mr. Lew for a written response.

Mr. Sherman also requested a comment on the issue from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her April 22 testimony at the committee; neither response was available as of press time.

In a March 24 letter to the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee leadership, Reps. Pallone and Kirk requested an increase in U.S. aid to Armenia (see table). The subcommittee will review the administration's proposal in the next few months.

U.S. aid programs

(in millions of dollars)

 
FY2010 proposals
FY2009 proposals and appropriated levels
 
Obama requested
Caucus requested
Bush requested
Caucus requested
Congress appropriated
Armenia
30.0
70
24.0
70
48.0
Karabakh
N/A
10
N/A
10
8.0
Armenia military
3.5
5
3.3
5
3.5
Azerbaijan military
4.9
0
3.9
0
3.5

 

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