Victims of 9/11 May Be Able to Sue Saudis After U.S. House Votes on Bill

Passing the bill would set up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York, September 11, 2001.
AP

REUTERS – The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on legislation that would allow the families of September 11 attack victims to sue Saudi Arabia's government for damages, a House leadership source said on Wednesday. 

Since the U.S. Senate passed the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act," or JASTA, unanimously in May, House passage would set up a potential showdown with the White House, which has threatened a veto. 

The Saudis, who deny responsibility for the 2001 attacks on the United States, also object strongly to the bill. 

The timing of the House vote was first reported by Politico. 

If it became law, JASTA would remove sovereign immunity, which prevents lawsuits against governments, for countries found to be involved in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. It would allow survivors of the attacks, and relatives of those killed in the attacks, to seek damages from other countries. 

In this case, it would allow lawsuits to proceed in federal court in New York as lawyers try to prove that the Saudis were involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. 

Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.