The US Senate has approved legislation that would allow victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, despite vocal opposition from the White House.
On Tuesday the Senate unanimously adopted a proposed bill allowing Americans to sue nation-states for terrorist attacks on US soil, defying opposition from the White House and allies such as Saudi Arabia.
Dubbed “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” the bill sailed through the upper chamber of Congress without opposition is now heading to the House of Representatives, which lawmakers have their own version of the proposal.
The Hill reports:
“This bill is very near and dear to my heart as a New Yorker because it would allow the victims of 9/11 to pursue some small measure of justice,” Schumer said. “[This is] another example of the [John] Cornyn-Schumer collaboration, which works pretty well around here.” The legislation will allow victims of terror attacks on U.S. soil or surviving family members to bring lawsuits against nation-states for activities supporting terrorism.
Despite bipartisan support for the legislation, it hit a snag last month when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was blocking the legislation over concerns it would open up the U.S. to lawsuits from foreigners accusing Washington of supporting terrorism.
But Graham’s office said he dropped his hold over the recent recess. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) thanked Graham and other GOP senators for “their willingness to work with us to deal with their concerns.”
The legislation will now head to the House, where lawmakers have also introduced their own version of the bill.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has voiced skepticism about the legislation.
“I think we need to look at it,” Ryan told reporters last month. “I think we need to review it to make sure we are not making mistakes with our allies and we’re not catching people in this that shouldn’t be caught up in this.”
The comments created a rare area of agreement between GOP lawmakers and the White House, which struggled to convince Democrats that the legislation could undermine national security.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters last month that he was “gratified” by Ryan’s comments.