October 5, 2016
The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232 U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Last week, the House and Senate successfully voted to override President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). In the first successful override of the Obama Administration, Congress did what President Obama failed to do: give 9/11 families the ability to seek justice against foreign governments that sponsor terrorism.
Our colleagues, Congressman Stephen Lynch and Congressman Thomas Massie, and I worked for over four years to declassify the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the September 11 attacks. Those pages link Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks by detailing substantial financial support from Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife to individuals linked to the 9/11 hijackers.
Our vote to override President Obama’s veto was a victorious moment for 9/11 families and justice. However, I was disappointed to read shortly after the vote that some in leadership are suggesting a modification or "weakening" of JASTA. This would be a huge mistake. JASTA is a carefully crafted bill that is the result of many years of hard work and negotiation by a vast majority of Congress. If leadership wanted changes in the bill, it should have been addressed prior to the override.
Additionally, Members of Congress are elected to represent their constituents, not so-called "allies" in foreign states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to engage in a massive lobbying campaign against JASTA, and we must not fall for it. I IMPLORE YOU TO STAND UP FOR 9/11 FAMILIES AND RESIST CALLS TO MODIFY JASTA.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress
North Carolina, 3rd District, Republican