Senate committee endorses administration’s Armenia aid reduction

Figures to be reconciled with House version

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Thursday July 09, 2009

Senators have approved President Obama's proposal to cut US aid to Armenia by $18 million in fiscal 2010. The Senate version of the bill must be reconciled with the House version that maintains 2009 levels of aid.

Washington - The Senate Appropriations Committee on July 9 approved a $51.23 billion foreign aid bill for Fiscal Year 2010, including $745 million in assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), who chairs the Senate's foreign operations subcommittee, reported the same day.

As part of the bill, senators endorsed President Barack Obama's request for $30 million for Armenia and no funds set aside for Nagorno-Karabakh. The president's request had been criticized by Armenian-American groups and congressional friends as inadequate.

The Senate subcommittee includes Sens. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.), Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) and Barbara Mikulski (D.-Md.) all of whom have been supportive of Armenian-American issues.

Separately, the House of Representatives was expected to pass before the end of the week its version of the foreign aid bill that includes $48 million for Armenia, $10 million for Nagorno-Karabakh, and $3.5 million each in military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The two versions will next need to be reconciled by a committee of Senate and House negotiators before the bill can be signed into law by the president.

Asked by the Armenian Reporter for comment, Ross Vartian of the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee said, "USAPAC is disappointed with the Senate version and will actively support the House version in the Senate-House conference process."

Earlier this year, the co-chairs of the congressional Armenian Caucus recommended $75 million in aid to Armenia and $10 million to Nagorno-Karabakh. They also called for strengthening of Section 907, which provides oversight for U.S. aid to Azerbaijan; that provision was adopted by House appropriators.

In a news release, the Armenian Assembly cited congressional sources that anticipated that the Senate version of the foreign-aid bill would also include language strengthening congressional oversight over a presidential waiver of Section 907, and provide equal amounts of military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Send to a friend

To (e-mail address):


Your Name:


Message:


Printer-Friendly

20-year-old Azat Asoyan was close to concluding his 2-year service when he was killed by hostile fire on July 31; Asoyan is one of 16 Armenian soldiers killed in combat so far this year. Photo via Azat Asoyan facebook page

Karabakh death toll mounts in tit-for-tat attacks

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are sustaining their worst combat fatalities in over decade, according to officially confirmed death tolls by both sides. The two sides confirmed three Armenian and nine Azerbaijani military deaths on July 26, July 31 and August 1.