On the first anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) and Representative Mike Kelly (R–PA) sent powerful messages rejecting the White House’s efforts to implement the treaty outside the ratification process.
As we have explained, the ATT is a severely flawed treaty that will not make the world’s bad and incompetent governments behave any better. It will be used primarily to criticize the U.S. and to impede our ability to sell arms to allies such as Israel and Taiwan.
Senator Moran has long headed the opposition to the ATT in the Senate. Last fall, he led 50 of his Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to President Obama pledging to oppose ratification of the ATT.
Yesterday, Moran noted that, almost six months later, he has not received the courtesy of a reply to that letter. He summarized Senate and House actions that make it clear that they oppose the implementation of the treaty until it passes through the full ratification process.
Most significantly, Moran expressed grave concern at the Administration’s new conventional arms export control policy, which has been interpreted by some as a covert attempt to implement the treaty, urged the President to withdraw his signature from it, and pledged to continue to lead the opposition against it.
In the House, Congressman Kelly, like Moran a staunch defender of rights protected under the Second Amendment, sent a parallel letter to the President, recalling the letter he led last fall opposing the ATT that won the bipartisan support of 181 of his colleagues, and making the same points as Moran.
At the same time, Kelly has also led more than 80 of his colleagues in letters seeking to explicitly prevent the use of funds to implement the ATT in appropriations for the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, and State. His language builds on legislation previously enacted into law in the National Defense Authorization Act (2014) and, to defend Second Amendment rights, would ban domestic prosecutions on the basis of the ATT.
This is a powerful measure that would seriously impede any effort at covert treaty implementation. With Moran’s vital leadership in the Senate, it again makes the position of Congress clear: The ATT is an ill-conceived and poorly drafted treaty that the U.S. should not have signed and from which the Senate will withhold its advice and consent.