Rep. Schiff is blessed to represent one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse parts of our nation. The Armenian-American population of Glendale and the surrounding areas is one of the largest outside of Armenia itself. Schiff believes that it is important for the United States to assist modern-day Armenia, as we honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
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As a member of the Appropriation subcommittee that oversees American foreign assistance, Schiff has made assistance to Armenia a top priority. With the illegal Turkish blockade of Armenia, as well as Azerbaijani aggression, Armenia and Artsakh have suffered economically and Schiff sees assistance as crucial to maintaining Armenia’s independence and continues to lay the ground-work for a resolution of the status of Artsakh.
Unfortunately, recent budgetary constraints and the effect of Turkish lobbying efforts resulted in a reduced request by the Administration for Armenia for 2013, but during consideration of the foreign operations bill in the House of Representatives, Schiff successfully restored aid cuts to Armenia and increased assistance to Artsakh, which had not been receiving much of the assistance provided by Congress. Schiff also succeeded in getting language included that would require the administration to formulate an economic development plan for the Armenian areas of the Republic of Georgia. Schiff will work to maintain the increased funding as the Congress finalizes the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill.
As he does every year, on April 24, 2012, Rep. Adam Schiff joined millions of Armenians and others worldwide to mark the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. For Schiff, honoring the 1.5 million men, women and children lost during the first genocide of the 20th Century is a sacred obligation and attended numerous events in the Glendale area, as well as in Washington, DC.
Schiff is the lead author of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the House of Representatives and believes that the United States cannot speak out forcefully against genocide and other human rights violations if we are unable to speak truthfully about the massacre of the Armenian people nearly a century ago. Schiff will not rest until our government has acknowledged the truth and pledged to remember forever.
On December 13, 2011, the House of Representatives passed the Return of Churches Resolution (H. Res. 306), sponsored by Reps. Ed Royce, Howard Berman and Adam Schiff, calling on the Republic of Turkey to end all religious persecution and to return stolen Christian church properties. In March 2012, a companion measure was introduced in the United States Senate.
During his Floor speech in support of the resolution, Schiff said, “For more than two centuries our nation has stood for tolerance of other faiths, and the promotion of religious freedom, American diplomats, members of Congress and presidents have consistently pressed other governments to respect and protect their minorities. This resolution is in the finest tradition of advocacy for those whose voices have been silenced. I am proud to be an original cosponsor and am pleased that the House passed the Return of Churches Resolution to shine light on the unacceptable violations and intolerance of religious freedom in Turkey.”
Rep. Schiff has been working with the Armenian-American community on efforts to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the Movsesian case. As it stands, Armenian-Americans would continue to be barred from pursuing claims against insurance companies who failed to honor policies issued during the Genocide period. Schiff, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ninth Circuit, is considering filing an additional brief with the United States Supreme Court and is working on a potential legislative fix, should the Supreme Court uphold the appellate decision.