House Rules Committee Adopts Amendment Closing Loophole on U.S. Funding Azeri Military

On July 17, the U.S. House Rules Committee, Chaired by Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), adopted a key amendment by Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) during consideration of H.R. 6395: William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 for military activities of the Department of Defense.

Rep. Pallone’s amendment, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), requires a report from the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, addressing allegations that some units of foreign countries that have participated in security cooperation programs under section 333 of title 10, U.S.C. may have also committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights before or while receiving U.S. security assistance. This report would also include recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations.

Representative Pallone’s amendment was among three amendments of significant interest to Armenian-Americans. Amendments by Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), prohibiting funds from being used to transfer defense articles or services to Azerbaijan and Representative Jackie Speier, restoring the long-standing policy of parity in military funding between Azerbaijan and Armenia, were not made in order by the Rules Committee.

Rep. Pallone’s amendment will be considered next week during consideration of the NDAA by the full House of Representatives.

“We applaud Representatives Pallone, Speier, and Sherman for their efforts to hold Azerbaijan accountable for their aggression towards Armenia and other human rights violations. This amendment will help close a loophole in US law currently being exploited to transfer American tax dollars to the Azeri military. Members of Congress will have a choice next week, they can either stand up to the perpetrators shooting at Armenian kindergartners or give them more bullets,” stated ACA Washington D.C. Representative Taniel Koushakjian.

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.