Rep. Ilhan Omar Statement on H.R. 4695 and H.Res. 296

October 29, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Rep. Ilhan Omar issued the following statement after voting “no” on H.R. 4695, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey (PACT) Act and “present” on H.Res. 296, Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.

“As I recently outlined, accountability for the invasion of northern Syria is essential. Turkey’s incursion and the ensuing fallout is a humanitarian catastrophe—especially for the Kurdish people. But too often our sanctions policies are ill-considered, inhumane and hurt the very people we claim to be helping. That is exactly the case here, where overbroad sanctions on the Turkish economy would hurt civilians rather than political leaders. There are positive policies we could pursue—like banning or limiting weapons sales or creating a buffer zone—but pursuing sanctions that have no chance of being signed into law is the wrong response at the wrong time.

“I also believe accountability for human rights violations—especially ethnic cleansing and genocide—is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics. A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.”