Grassley, Lankford, Duckworth Introduce Bill to Ensure Justice to US Victims of Terrorism
Jul 17, 2019
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today joined Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to introduce the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which seeks to provide justice for US victims of international terrorism while promoting the important security cooperation among US, Israeli, and Palestinian security forces. With respect to US victims of terrorism, the bill would strengthen the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ACTA), which Grassley introduced and Congress passed without objection last year, to restore US federal court jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in claims by Americans injured or killed by acts of terrorism overseas sponsored by the PA/PLO. The legislation, authored by Lankford, affirms the fundamental principle that normal participation as part of the international community, or engaging in certain conduct here in the United States, demands first answering for prior support for terrorist acts.
“In the last 30 years, Congress repeatedly and unanimously voted to open the courthouse doors to American victims of international terrorism. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority chose to dodge accountability in U.S. courts, harming its own people and goodhearted aid organizations in the process. This legislation promotes access to justice for American victims of terrorism while restoring essential security and humanitarian support that the PA blocked in retaliation for bipartisan congressional action. It has the blessing of the State Department and American victims, and I urge all of my colleagues to again show their support,” Grassley said.
“I am proud to join with Senators Duckworth and Grassley to introduce legislation that seeks to provide justice for US victims of Palestinian terrorism. This important bill would promote US security interests in the Middle East by improving our nation’s engagement with Palestinian security forces, a relationship highly praised and valued by the Israeli Government. Given the urgency to provide justice for American victims of Palestinian terrorism, as well as the always-dynamic security situation in the Middle East, I urge my Senate colleagues to work to pass this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible,” Lankford said.
The bill is designed to ensure access to courts for Americans who were injured or killed by acts of terrorism while abroad. Recent federal court decisions created loopholes in longstanding US anti-terrorism law, allowing certain foreign actors to evade US court jurisdiction when they support or carry out acts of terrorism against American citizens. The Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act seeks to close these loopholes.