Washington, DC - The balance of power has shifted in Washington as Democrats took control over the House of Representatives, paving the way for Armenian Caucus Member Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to become the first female Speaker of the House. Pelosi’s anticipated rise, coupled with the likelihood of numerous Caucus Democrats picking up important leadership positions, will expand the scope and influence of this important body in the next congressional session.
As part of that power shift, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) will pass the Speaker's gavel to Pelosi, making her the first Armenian Caucus Member to hold that position.
In a press release issued on Wednesday the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues, refers to Pelosi’s strong record of support on Armenian-American issues and says she has regularly called on the Administration to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
She is currently a cosponsor of H. Res. 316 - a bill that affirms the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people as genocide. Last year, Pelosi participated in a Capitol Hill observance of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and in April 2001, spoke on the floor of the House saying that “the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact. The Republic of Turkey has adamantly refused to acknowledge that the Genocide happened on its soil, but the evidence is irrefutable....We must learn from the past and never forget the victims of the Armenian Genocide.”
Additionally, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will run for Majority
Leader, and if elected, will be another Caucus first. Like Pelosi,
Hoyer has co-sponsored legislation reaffirming the Genocide and has
given commemoration addresses to Congress during the month of April. During the Assembly's pan-Armenian Advocacy Conference in March of this year, Hoyer pledged to continue fighting for U.S. reaffirmation of the Genocide and said that he has asked Turkish leaders why they cannot acknowledge the crimes.
“Representatives Pelosi and Hoyer have strong records on Armenian issues of any Democratic leadership and we look forward to building on these strong relationships, as well as others in the House, to address issues and concerns facing Armenian-Americans, as well as our homeland,” said Board of Trustees Executive Committee Member Annie Totah.
In total, some 50 Democratic Armenian Caucus Members are positioned to take over important leadership positions and full committee chairmanships.
“The Assembly congratulates Armenian-American supporters in the Senate and House on their victory and looks forward to reaching out to new members in the coming year,” said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Adouny. “To that end, we also encourage Armenian Americans to join us in our outreach efforts and build on our advocacy successes in the current Congress.”
Ardouny noted that, with this election, the anticipated leadership of
the 110th Congress will offer new opportunities to pass an Armenian
Genocide resolution, to ensure that attempts by Armenia’s neighbors to isolate her are addressed, and to make security issues facing Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia priorities.
When Congress returns next week for the lame duck session, several
outstanding items remain including the rail legislation, appropriations
funding for Armenia and Karabakh, as well as the confirmation process
for Ambassador-designate Richard E. Hoagland.
The 110th congressional session will convene in January when the Speaker of the House will be elected by the full House of Representatives.