Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) blocked passage of a resolution that would have formally recognized the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against the Armenian people.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Thursday asked for consent to pass the resolution that would have provided “official recognition and remembrance” of the Armenian genocide.
“For those here in the Senate who would consider objecting to this request, I urge you to think long and hard about what that means for your reputation, what it means for history, what that means for the Senate as an institution,” Menendez said.
“History is watching and it will not look kindly on those who object to recognizing genocide,” he added.
Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can try to pass a resolution, but any one senator can also object.
Cramer said he supported the spirit of the resolution but was objecting because the United States and Turkey were in negotiations. Turkey vehemently opposes recognizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.
Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have been tested in recent months over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian weapons system and its incursion into Syria.
“I support the spirit of this resolution. I suspect 99 of my colleagues do and at the right time we may pass it … however I do not think this is the right time,” Cramer said.
“Adoption of this resolution today in my view is unnecessary and might very well undermine that diplomatic effort at a key time,” he added.
The resolution passed the House in a 405-11 vote.