The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on legislation that would allow the families of Sept. 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 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by James Dalgleish)