Congressman TJ Cox (D-CA) – a first-term legislators representing California’s Central Valley – spearheaded the successful passage today of an amendment appropriating Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) U.S. assistance for life-saving de-mining programs and expanded rehabilitation services in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We want to thank Congressman Cox for his leadership in ensuring continued U.S. aid for Artsakh. This assistance represents both a principled American investment in peace and also practical support for the safety and well-being of families and farmers across this independent republic,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “From his first day in Congress, TJ Cox has been a champion for his constituents of Armenian heritage, fighting for aid to Artsakh and the full range of policy priorities of special concern to the vibrant Armenian American community in California’s Central Valley.”
“Children and families in Nagorno Karabakh shouldn’t have to live under the constant threat of a crippling injury or death from exploding mines,” Congressman Cox told the ANCA. “My amendment will ensure continued funding for demining and rehabilitation projects in Nagorno Karabakh. I’m committed to working with my colleagues on the Armenian Caucus, the Armenian National Committee of America and the HALO Trust to restore communities in Nagorno Karabakh and ensure the region is landmine free in the very near future.”
During remarks on the House floor last week, Rep. Cox noted “Karabakh has one of the highest civilian casualty rates from land mines and unsolicited remnants of war. According to The HALO Trust, there have been nearly 400 civilian casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance in Karabakh for the last few decades and a quarter of those landmine victims have been children. In 2013, a needs assessment estimated that The HALO Trust interventions have benefited over 80% of the region's population. Mr. Speaker, families and children shouldn't have to live in fear of dying due to a landmine accident.”
The Cox Amendment on Artsakh aid, which was supported by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), calls for a $1.5 million allocation for FY2020. It was adopted as part of an “en bloc” group of foreign aid related amendments to H.R.2740 by a vote of 231 to 187. The Cox Amendment passed over the opposition of the Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, Hal Rogers (R-KY), who opposed several amendments in the en bloc measure, including the Cox amendment.