The victims of the Sept. 11 attacks will file lawsuits seeking damages from Saudi Arabia after the US senate passed the legislation , setting up a potential showdown with the White House.
Saudi Arabia threatened to sell up to $750 billion worth of US assets held by the Kingdom in retaliation if it becomes law.
The Saudis deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks.
The ” Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act ,” or JASTA , passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote. It must next be taken up by the US House of Representatives, where no vote has yet been scheduled.
The Obama administration has been lobbying Congress to block the bill’s passage, administration officials and congressional aides from both parties told The Times. The administration argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas.
If JASTA becomes law would remove the sovereign immunity, preventing lawsuits against governments, for countries found to be involved in terrorist attacks on US soil.
However, the JASTA legislation would allow victims of terrorism on US soil to sue foreign sponsors of terrorism.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a co-sponsor, said”Today the Senate has spoken loudly and unanimously that the families of victims of terrorist attacks should be able to hold the perpetrators, even if it’s a country, a nation, accountable.”