By Arab News
US President Barack Obama does not support the legislation against Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 attacks and would not sign it, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also did not endorse the Senate bill on Tuesday saying it should be reviewed to ensure it would not hurt diplomatic relations.
“The White House is opposed to it. It’s received some opposition here. We’re going to let these things work the process,” Ryan said. He noted that the White House is sure to promise a veto and “we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Ryan said the legislation on Sept. 11 victims did not come up when he met with Saudi officials on a trip to the Middle East.
The White House says it opposes the bill because it could expose Americans overseas to legal risk.
“If we open up the possibility that individuals in the US can routinely start suing other governments, then we are also opening up the United States to being continually sued by individuals in other countries,” Obama said.
He was giving an interview to CBS News.
Lawmakers have been discussing the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January but has not been scheduled for debate in the full Senate or the House of Representatives.
“I think we need to review it to make sure that we’re not making mistakes with our allies and that we’re not catching people in this that shouldn’t be caught up in this,” Ryan, a Republican, said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said no vote has been scheduled. Senate aides said there was at least one Republican “hold” on the measure. “I’m still looking at it,” McConnell said, calling the measure an “important” bill.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said lawmakers and the Obama administration were trying to resolve concerns about whether individuals should be able to sue foreign governments.
“There are some sovereign immunity issues that need to be worked through,” Corker said. He refused to comment on whether he supported the legislation, because the bill has not been finalized.