Since the White House released its budget recommendations for FY18 on May 23, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) joined with Members of Congress to express concern about the 67 percent reduction in foreign aid to Armenia. Spearheaded by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), 27 Members of Congress sent a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) sharing those concerns. The Assembly encouraged its members to contact their Representatives to oppose cuts in aid to Armenia, which dropped from $20.4 million in FY16 to $6.8 million proposed for FY18.
“As Members who care deeply about strengthening the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Armenia, we urge you to reject the harmful cuts to U.S. foreign aid to Armenia included in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget,” the Representatives stated in the letter. “At a time of tremendous global uncertainty, the U.S. should continue to foster the progress of its allies, not retreat from its responsibilities as the world’s leading democracy. As the U.S. and Armenia commemorate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, we urge the committee to reject the harmful cuts to U.S. aid to Armenia proposed by the President’s FY18 budget,” they continued.
Last week, the Assembly submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs for Fiscal Year 2018 highlighting key priorities. The Assembly’s testimony calls for: $40 million in U.S. economic aid to Armenia; $8 million to Artsakh; full enforcement of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act; $20 million to implement the Royce-Engel initiative to advance peace; assistance to protect and safeguard Christian minorities at risk in the Middle East escaping to Armenia, such as inclusion in the Near East Foundation’s programs in the region; $11 million in U.S. military assistance to Armenia; and assistance to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. The Assembly also strongly supports a second U.S.-Armenia Millennium Challenge compact.