On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the House Committee on Rules will consider amendments to for floor consideration of H.R. 4373, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022, also known as the FY22 SFOPS bill. Among the amendments to be considered is amendment #113 led by Armenian Caucus leaders, Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), David G. Valadao (CA-21), Brad Sherman (CA-30), and Judy Chu (CA-27) to blocking U.S. military aid to oil-rich Azerbaijan and another amendment, amendment #114, spearheaded by Jackie Speier which would increase U.S. foreign military assistance to Armenia by $3 million.
Given last year’s 44-day war launched by Azerbaijan, which resulted in war-crimes towards the peaceful civilian population of Artsakh (some brutally beheaded according to Human Rights Watch) and a death toll of over 4,000 Armenian soldiers, and over 100,000 Armenians forcibly displaced from their homes, the destruction of vital infrastructure including schools and hospitals, and the deliberate destruction of Armenian cultural and religious heritage sites, amendment #113 would eliminate the waiver (utilized by the Biden Administration) of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, and send a strong message to Baku that there are consequences for violating international norms.
While the Committee on Appropriations, in its report accompanying H.R. 4373 expresses “concerned by disparity in military assistance provided to Azerbaijan in comparison to Armenia that is enabled by the annual waiver of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act by the Secretary of State, including the most recent waiver signed by the Secretary on April 23, 2021,” amendment #114, aims to redress the current lack of parity in the levels of U.S. military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan, by increasing the Foreign Military Financing Program to Armenia by $3 million.
If approved, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R.4373 later next week.
The following are the Rules Committee Members who will consider the two amendments:
Armenian Council of America is committed to promote the civic and civil rights interests of the Armenian American community. ACA also aims to strengthen U.S. – Armenia and U.S. – Artsakh ties, the development of programs promoting sustainable economic growth and good governance in Armenia, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship.