The U.S. House expressed concern over President Joe Biden’s April 23rd waiver of Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, citing its contribution to the disparity in U.S. military assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan, in a report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2022 Foreign Aid Bill (H.R.4373), adopted by a vote of 217 to 213, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We welcome today’s U.S. House report language as a meaningful step, alongside today’s adoption of the Pallone Amendment, toward rolling back President Biden’s reckless waiver of Section 907 and, more broadly, stopping all U.S. arms and aid to Azerbaijan’s oil-rich, racist, and openly anti-Armenian Aliyev regime,” said ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “Not a single U.S. tax dollar should ever be shipped to the Azerbaijani military to kill, cripple, or capture Armenians.”
The report accompanying the H.R.4373 also calls for not less than $50 million in U.S. assistance to Armenia, “for economic development, private sector productivity, energy independence, democracy and the rule of law, and other purposes.” It urges not less than $2 million for demining activities in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). The recommendation for U.S. assistance to Armenia is over twice that requested by President Biden in his FY2022 proposed budget, which remains silent on the matter of U.S. assistance to Artsakh.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. House voted to amend H.R.4373 to restrict U.S. foreign military and training assistance to Azerbaijan, adopting the ANCA-backed Pallone Amendment, which was led by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), with the support of 19 Armenian Caucus colleagues.
In remarks offered on the House Floor, Rep. Pallone thanked House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Chair, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), for her leadership in supporting pro-Artsakh/Armenia measures in the FY2022 Foreign Aid Bill. “I know that she has been a supporter of the Armenian people for many years. [I’ve] been to her district and seen some of the Armenian Americans who really love her,” stated Rep. Pallone, who spotlighted the need for expanded U.S. aid to Armenia and Artsakh. “This unprecedented commitment in funding will go a long way in helping economic, governance, and rule of law reforms, while further strengthening America’s strategic partnership with this young democracy. The language included in this bill also helps address the humanitarian needs in Artsakh as a result of the 44-day war perpetrated by Azerbaijan and Turkey last fall, and directs an additional two million dollars for demining programs.”
Rep. Pallone also had special praise for Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and the House Rules Committee, which permitted the full U.S. House vote on the amendment to block foreign military and training funds to Azerbaijan. “So, let me be clear, Madam Speaker, this bill sends a clear signal that we will not aid or tolerate authoritarian regimes that threaten peace and security, especially when those actions are aimed at a fellow democracy,” stated Rep. Pallone.