A Senate bill that would allow families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks to sue the Saudi government has achieved a rare Washington distinction, by uniting the Obama administration and some of its fiercest GOP critics.
President Barack Obama and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are rallying to kill the bipartisan plan that would make it possible for American citizens to sue foreign governments believed to be linked to terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said the plan should be reviewed through regular order before decisions are made about advancing the measure.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned the legislation could lead other countries to craft even broader versions that could do significant harm to the U.S. government.
“It certainly is plausible … that that other countries when they’re implementing these laws would not tailor them so specifically,” Earnest said. “And that does open up the United States to a unique degree of risk, and putting our country, our taxpayers, our service members and our diplomats in legal jeopardy in that way is contrary to our interests.”
Earnest said it would be “unwise” for the Senate to pass the legislation, “particularly when there is an alternative mechanism for us to resolve these kinds of issues with other countries.”
That alternative, he said, is “the essence of diplomacy.”