A terrorism-related bill President Barack Obama has spoken out against just passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives.
House Resolution 3815, also known as the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” would allow U.S. citizens to bring lawsuits against foreign countries for their involvement in terrorism that killed Americans on our soil. A 1976 law regarding sovereign immunity has prevented any such lawsuit, but if it goes into effect, the JASTA measure would create a recognized exception to the law.
The sovereign immunity law has been used most notably to shield Saudi Arabia from lawsuits stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001. terrorist attacks carried out against the United States, according to Allen B. West.
In fact, 15 of the 19 men who hijacked the airplanes that horrific morning were subjects of the Saudi kingdom.
U.S. House approves by voice vote bill allowing 9/11 lawsuits against foreign countries & nationals.pic.twitter.com/tInCq0fq4m
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 9, 2016
The Senate also unanimously passed its version of JASTA in May, which was a bipartisan effort led by John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.
The two unanimous voice decisions from both chambers of Congress essentially eliminated Obama’s veto power, which can be overridden with a two-thirds majority support from the House and Senate — which they clearly have.
But the president wasn’t the only one who isn’t a fan of this legislation, as the Saudi government has threatened to liquidate hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if the bill becomes law. However, many experts believed the kingdom was just bluffing to get its way, The New York Times reported.
Regardless, threats like that suggest the Saudis were perhaps worried about what facts might come out in these lawsuits.
It is fitting that the unanimous vote on this measure happened just days before the 15th anniversary of the 2001 attacks, and it couldn’t be a better tribute to those who lost their lives to the evil perpetrated that day and the ones who have had to carry on in the wake of it.
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