House Republicans are wrestling with whether to pass legislation that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, according to GOP lawmakers, aides and supporters of the bill.
President Barack Obama and a number of top diplomatic and national security officials from both parties strongly oppose the measure, arguing it would infringe on international sovereignty and undermine the country’s critical relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government is lobbying aggressively against it, and Obama is expected to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
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Yet with Election Day only two months away, pressure is mounting on the House to take up and pass the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, which sailed through the Senate five months ago.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), one of the leading House supporters, said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has told him that he’d back the bill if Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) supports it. Goodlatte’s aides wouldn’t comment on the issue, but King said the Virginia Republican informed him multiple times that he supports the measure.
“Ryan said so long as Goodlatte approves it, he would approve it. And I spoke to Goodlatte, and [Goodlatte] said he approves it and supports it,” King told POLITICO. “There is no reason now for it not to come to a vote. The House Judiciary Committee chairman supports it. It should be over and done. Cut and dry.”
King added: “There is no reason for delay. There should be a vote, and there will be a lot of deep anger if it’s not” taken up on the House floor soon.
With the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching on Sunday, a group of victim families is headed to Washington this week to press …