Congressional Record: Appropriations to Armenia

[Congressional Record: July 15, 2004 (House)]
[Page H5804-H5825]
>From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this bill
and encourage all of my colleagues to vote in favor of it today.
I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) and the
gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) for their working together to
produce a very, very good bill. Let me also commend the staff for the
work that they have contributed. They have addressed the chairman’s,
ranking member’s and as many of the other Members’ problems and
interests as possible and done a very good job in producing an
effective bill. I hope and expect it will receive broad bipartisan
support today.
Mr. Chairman, the foreign operations bill is arguably the most
important contribution to America’s foreign policy that the House of
Representatives makes. Let me briefly highlight a few areas.
Assistance to the Middle East is always a central part of this bill.

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For fiscal year 2005, Israel will receive $2.2 billion in military
assistance, $360 million in economic assistance, and $50 billion to
resettle Jewish refugees in Israel. I strongly support all of that
The U.S.-Israel relationship is a cornerstone of our overall foreign
policy, and Israel is our critical ally in the Middle East. We do
disagree from time to time, but the U.S.-Israel relationship is
incredibly strong.
I also support the military and economic assistance to Egypt in this
bill. Because of the level of cooperation we are receiving from Egypt
in the war on terrorism and the peace process, I believe the bill
contains the right balance of military and economic assistance for each
at this time.
I understand that an amendment will likely be offered today to change
the balance of assistance to Egypt. I will strongly oppose that
amendment, and I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing it as well.
I am also very pleased this bill contains $35 million in economic
support funds for Lebanon, including $4 million for the American
educational institutions that are there. Lebanon has great potential,
and USAID’s Village Cluster Program has played an important role in the
development of villages throughout Lebanon. I know many Members agree
with me on that and that the continuation of this program of $35
million is critical.
Let me just highlight what this bill provides for Armenia.
Unfortunately, Armenia is a landlocked country surrounded by nations on
both sides that are hostile to it. Because transportation routes into
Armenia are sealed, the Armenian economy is being strangled. Therefore,
it is appropriate for the U.S. to provide substantial economic
assistance. This bill provides $65 million in economic assistance to
Armenia, which is an increase above the administration’s request.
We also must be very careful with the military assistance we provide
in the Caucasus, in the South Caucasus. I believe it is absolutely
critical to maintain complete parity in military assistance to Armenia
and Azerbaijan. I am pleased that this bill does exactly that.
The State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative is becoming
one of the most progressive reform programs in the Middle East. I am
pleased that this bill continues to provide funding for this important
There are many more valuable programs in this bill, including the
Millennium Challenge Corporation, IMET to Greece, microcredit, and, of
course, funding to fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS.