Omnibus appropriations bill prevents the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has announced that the Omnibus appropriations bill prevents the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by prohibiting any funding of the treaty unless it is ratified by the U.S. Senate, which opposes the treaty. In October 2013, Sen. Moran led a bipartisan group of 50 U.S. Senators in reiterating to President Obama that the Senate overwhelmingly opposes ratification and will not be bound by its obligations.
"Last fall, the Obama Administration's signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty in a direct dismissal of the American people and the bipartisan Senate majority that rejects this treaty," Sen. Moran said. "Throughout this process, it has been disturbing to watch the Administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own 'red line' negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty's dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text. With the passage of the Omnibus bill, it will be made unequivocally clear that Congress is committed to upholding the fundamental individual rights of Americans and rejects the ATT. We will not be bound by the treaty and we will not fund its implementation."
The Omnibus appropriations bill includes specific language in Section 7075 stating, "None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be obligated or expended to implement the Arms Trade Treaty until the Senate approves a resolution of ratification for the Treaty."
In the letter to President Obama in October 2013, Sen. Moran and his colleagues outline six reasons why they will not give advice and consent to the treaty and are therefore not bound to uphold the treaty's object and purpose.
"We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the U.S. does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations," the 50 Senators wrote to President Obama.
The six reasons for opposing ratification of the ATT include:
- The treaty failed to achieve consensus, and was adopted by majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. This violates the red line drawn by the Obama Administration;
- The treaty allows amendments by a three-quarters majority vote, circumventing the power and duty of the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent on treaty commitments before they are assumed by the United States;
- The treaty includes only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. This poses a threat to the Second Amendment;
- The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is “ambiguous.” By becoming party to the treaty, the U.S. would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear;
- The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves. The language restricts the ability of the United States to conduct its own foreign policy and allows foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States; and
- The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty includes language that could hinder the United States from fulfilling its strategic, legal and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.
The letter is signed by a bipartisan group of 50 U.S. Senators including: Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jeffrey Chiesa (R-N.J.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jim Risch (R-Ind.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Over the past two years, Sen. Moran has led multiple Senate efforts to express concerns to the Administration about the ATT including:
- In May 2012, Sen. Moran spoke on the U.S. Senate Floor about S. 2205, the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act, which he introduced to prohibit funding to negotiate a U.N. ATT that restricts the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens;
- In July 2012, Sen. Moran drafted a letter signed by 50 of his Senate colleagues and wrote an op-ed notifying the Administration that there was strong enough opposition to block the ATT from Senate passage; and
- In March 2013, Sen. Moran introduced S. Con. Res. 7, a concurrent resolution sponsored by 35 of his Senate colleagues, which outlines specific criteria that must be met for U.N. ATT to be ratified by the U.S. Senate and recognized as customary international law. S. Con. Res. 7 has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Heritage Action, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth.