Congress Looks to Curtail Bill Allowing Terror Victims to Sue Foreign Governments

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Lawmakers express concern over unintended consequences a day after overriding Obama’s veto

Leading lawmakers said Thursday they were working on ways to mitigate possible unintended consequences of legislation letting Americans sue foreign governments over terrorist attacks, just one day after both the House and Senate soundly overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill.

Some lawmakers expressed buyer’s remorse over the legislation, which would enable victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and their families to sue Saudi Arabia, worrying that the bill could spark reciprocal lawsuits and put Americans abroad in the legal crosshairs of foreign governments.

“It appears as if there may be some unintended ramifications,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters Thursday. “I do think it’s worth further discussing.”

Lawmakers said Thursday that they would seek to tighten the bill when they return to Washington after the November elections in an effort to limit its repercussions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Thursday he hoped to find some way to “protect our service members overseas from any kind of legal ensnarements or retribution” while still allowing Sept. 11 victims and their families to go to court.

“There will be an attempt to narrow the effect of what we’ve done,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) told reporters.

Lawmakers are looking at options including limiting the bill’s scope just to the Sept. 11 attacks, changing some of the technical definitions or thresholds in the bill and establishing a tribunal of experts who “could first determine if there was culpability there,” Mr. Corker said.

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