JBANC urges Congress to adopt resolution congratulating Baltics

A Baltic-American advocacy group is encouraging its supporters to push U.S. lawmakers to adopt a resolution recognizing Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania before Congress adjourns for the fall elections.

The resolution, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, would congratulate the Baltics on the 20th anniversary of their renewed independence and the end of Soviet occupation. But the resolution needs more co-sponsors and needs to be passed soon, says Karl Altau, managing director of the Washington, D.C.-based Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC).

“The U.S. Congress is scheduled to soon adjourn for coming fall elections, so calls to urge its passage are essential,” according to an e-mailed “action alert” JBANC sent to supporters on Sept. 17.

Congress is scheduled to adjourn on Oct. 8.

Shimkus, a member of the Baltic Caucus in the House of Representatives, introduced the resolution (H.Con.Res.267) on April 26. The proposal was referred the same day to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and has seen no action since.

In addition to congratulating the Baltic states, the resolution would call on the U.S. president “to continue to build the close and mutually beneficial relations the United States has enjoyed with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania since the restoration of the full independence of those nations.”

Some observers have expressed concern that U.S. interest in the Baltics, as well as the rest of Eastern and Central Europe, has cooled in recent years especially as American diplomats have looked at a “reset” of relations with Russia.

Twelve other House members have signed on as co-sponsors of the proposed resolution: Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida, Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, Rep. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter of Michigan, Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois, Rep. John S. Tanner of Tennessee, and Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida.

JBANC provides details for contacting legislators on its website, jbanc.org.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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