Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Executive Director Bryan Ardouny testified before the House Appropriations Committee in the U.S. Capitol building where he outlined nine key policy priorities for the Armenian American community in fiscal year (FY) 2016. The Assembly submits appropriations testimony to Congress annually and has done so for over a decade.
The Armenian “Assembly urges the Subcommittee to allocate $40 million in assistance to Armenia,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny at today’s hearing. “Continued and robust assistance helps to offset the impact of the blockades imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Despite these blockades, Armenia continues to make important strides often under challenging circumstances and was ranked 52nd out of 178 countries on the Wall Street Journal-Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom,” Ardouny said.
Earlier this year, the President submitted his FY2016 budget recommendation to Congress, which calls for a total of $22.36 million for Armenia, a reduction of $2.34 million from last year’s request, and which maintains military assistance parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Assembly testimony offered today lays out nine, clear and objective policy goals for upcoming FY 2016, specifically: not less than $40 million in U.S. assistance to Armenia; at least $5 million in U.S. assistance to Nagorno Karabakh; assistance to Christian minorities at risk in the Middle East; strengthening Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act; the Nagorno Karabakh peace process; U.S. military assistance to Armenia; assistance to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia; regional energy security; and affirmation of the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.
In addition, during today’s testimony, Ardouny asked Members of Congress on the panel to travel to Armenia. “We [the Assembly] strongly encourage Members, especially on the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide, to travel to Armenia to see first-hand the realities on the ground and the ongoing impact of the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades on Armenia,” Ardouny said.