USA*Engage Urges Senate Support for JASTA Veto

Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Washington, DC – Today, in a letter to the Senate, Ambassador Rufus Yerxa, Co-Chair of USA*Engage and President of the National Foreign Trade Council, urged members to support President Obama's veto of S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).
Yerxa wrote:
"While the sense of outrage and concern behind the Senate's vote to pass JASTA is entirely understandable, I am convinced that a sudden change in our long established practice regarding sovereign immunity, applicable to potentially any country and without careful consideration given to the unintended consequences for American citizens and businesses worldwide, would be a mistake.

The precedent JASTA would set for relations among sovereign states, the resulting exposure of Americans on the global stage, and the confusion of U.S. foreign policy by interminable court procedure will carry unintended consequences. One of America's greatest strengths is our stable, predictable and even-handed relationship with other nations. It is one of the reasons we have been able to gain wide support among the community of nations in fighting the scourge of terrorism. A sudden change of this nature, which could lead to extensive private litigation against even those governments that are our best allies in strengthening global cooperation against terror, could very well lead to mirror actions around the world and to a significant lessening of international cooperation in many fields.

We must continue to seek justice for those so grievously harmed by the rash and destabilizing acts of those states that sponsor or condone terrorism, but we should seek a way to do so without undermining our good relationships with the vast majority of nations that, like us, oppose terrorism and support our efforts."

For the full text of the letter, click here.

USA*Engage ( is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy worldwide.