Barletta Statement on Vote to Override Obama Veto

Sep 28, 2016
Press Release
House Overrides Veto of Bill Allowing Terror Victims to Sue

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that clarifies that victims of terrorist attacks may bring civil lawsuits against foreign states and individuals who sponsor, aid, or abet acts of terrorism on American soil.  The bill, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terror Act (S.2040), narrows the scope of foreign sovereign immunity of states in terrorism-related cases.  It also allows U.S. courts to assign liability to individuals who conspire or knowingly provide substantial assistance in terrorist acts.  The House voted to override President Obama’s veto by a vote of 348-to-77, with one member voting “present.”  The Senate already voted to override by a vote of 97-to-1.  Because two-thirds of the members of both houses of Congress voted to override, the bill now becomes law over the president’s objections.

Barletta issued the following statement:

“We just recently observed the fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, so this is a fitting time to state once and for all that foreign nations and individuals who actively and knowingly engage in terrorism will be held accountable by their victims.  There is too much gray area in the law, and it should not be used to allow rogue, terror-sponsoring states to hide behind national sovereign immunity.  This legislation makes that clear. 

“Too often in recent years, it has appeared that the policy of this country is to go easy on terror-sponsoring nations in the hopes that they will improve their behavior on their own.  Clearly, the strategy of coddling rogue states is not working.  Terrorists use all sorts of tactics to evade discovery and to conceal their plans.  They shouldn’t be able to use technicalities in court to hide from their responsibilities as well.”