As a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Brad Sherman has focused on how to improve cooperation between Armenia and the United States. Congressman Sherman has also consistently supported efforts to have the U.S. Congress recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Congressional Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
During World War I and its aftermath, the Ottoman Empire attempted to destroy the Armenian population of Eastern Anatolia. Congress should remember this tragic event and proclaim that the Armenian Genocide is a fact. Unfortunately, there are many who deny that this first genocide of the 20th Century actually took place.
It is high time that Congress comes down on the right side of this issue and affirms what history has shown to be true. Since coming to Congress in 1997, Brad Sherman has cosponsored every resolution commemorating the Armenian Genocide. In March 2009, Congressman Sherman and his colleagues introduced a resolution calling for the U.S. to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In March 2010, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on this resolution. The resolution passed narrowly, by just one vote, with a final tally of 23 to 22.
At the vote, Congressman Sherman stressed that the last act of any genocide is genocide denial, and the first act of preventing the next genocide is to acknowledge past acts of genocide. There is no doubt about the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, and this resolution should have passed by a larger margin.
Foreign Aid for Armenia
Since 1993, Congress has provided about $2 billion in assistance to Armenia. This funding has helped Armenia make the transition from communism to a free market economy, build democratic institutions, and provide for the needs of the Armenian people.
Year after year, Brad Sherman has joined his colleagues to fight against cuts in assistance to Armenia. Before voting commenced on the final version of the last relevant funding bill, Congressman Sherman sent a letter to the appropriate subcommittees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, asking them to strongly support Armenia, and we were able to secure $41 million in aid to Armenia.
In the President's most recent budget request, he called for $40 million in assistance to Armenia --- $10 million more than the previous request. While Congressman Sherman is pleased to see an increase in requested funds, the Congressman is supporting efforts to secure additional funds for assistance to Armenia in 2011.