Rep. Kelly Calls on President Trump to Withdraw US from UN Arms Trade Treaty

House passes NDAA with Kelly amendment to ban funding for Obama-era arms control treaty


Kelly: “It’s time to tear it up!”

WASHINGTON — This morning the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, which funds the United States Armed Forces and ensures that American troops have the resources required to successfully defend the homeland and achieve their missions abroad, by a bipartisan vote of 344-81. The legislation included the annual amendment offered by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) to ban funding by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The amendment was adopted yesterday by unanimous vote. During his speech on the House floor, Rep. Kelly urged the Trump administration to formally withdraw the U.S. from the treaty, which was signed by the Obama administration in 2013 but never ratified.

Statement by Rep. Kelly on passage of NDAA:

“This bill provides our nation’s defenders and warfighters with the resources they need to defeat our enemies and keep Americans safe. Among other features, this NDAA also includes a well-earned 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest in eight years. Additionally, I am very pleased that my colleagues once again unanimously approved my amendment to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to undermine our sovereignty or the safety of our allies. I look forward to the Senate following our lead and sending this critical legislation to the president’s desk to become law.”

Rep. Kelly’s floor statement on ATT amendment:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of my amendment to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, to prohibit federal funds from being used to implement the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty unless the Senate first ratifies the treaty.

“This language is identical to the version of my amendment that was enacted into law in last year’s NDAA and reflects the consistent will of the American people and the unified position of Congress in opposition to this misguided and dangerous treaty.

“The U.N. ATT is a deeply flawed agreement signed by the Obama administration in 2013. It would undermine our national sovereignty, harm our most vulnerable allies, and threaten the Second Amendment rights of every single American people. Turning over our arms trade policy to the United Nations is just wrong-headed.

“The ATT would force the United States – the world’s most important defender of liberty and democracy – onto equal footing with the world’s worst dictatorships and terror-sponsors. It would be readily politicized by bad actors around the world to try to stop America from providing arms to our friends and allies, including Israel, South Korea, and others.

“In short, just like gun control, it would stop the good from doing good without stopping the bad from doing bad.

“Congress has stood strong for the past six years on this issue. Together we were successful at stopping the Obama administration from ever implementing this treaty or using hardworking American taxpayer dollars to promote it.

“Nevertheless, our work is not over. One of former President Obama’s parting shots as he left office was to submit the ATT to our colleagues in the Senate for ratification — even though he knew it was dead on arrival.

“Regardless of who is seated in the Oval Office, renewing this ban is important because no presidency is permanent. A future administration may well try even harder to put this treaty into effect.

“Fortunately, in Donald Trump, we now have a president who believes in protecting our sovereignty in every possible way. America should never cede its sovereignty to the United Nations to determine its arms trade policies.

“Therefore, in addition to supporting this amendment, I strongly urge President Trump and Secretary Tillerson to take the final step and officially withdraw the United States from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty once and for all. It’s time to tear it up!

“I urge my colleagues to stand with me in support of the Second Amendment and our nation’s sovereignty, and vote in support of my amendment to renew the annual ban on funding the ATT.” 

BACKGROUND: Since 2013, Rep. Kelly has been a national leader of the movement to stop the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). On March 15, 2013, he introduced H. Con. Res. 23, a bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing opposition to the treaty on behalf of members of Congress. The resolution earned 149 co-sponsors in the House and 36 supporters in the Senate. On May 30, 2013, Rep. Kelly submitted a bipartisan letter with 130 co-signers from Congress to both President Obama and Secretary Kerry urging them to reject the treaty. He sent a similar bipartisan letter to the president following Secretary Kerry’s signing of the treaty on October 15, 2013, which was signed by 181 members of Congress, including multiple committee chairmen.

On December 2, 2016, the House passed S. 2943, the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017, which included Rep. Kelly’s annual amendment to continue the ban on funding by the Department of Defense for the implementation of the ATT. The amendment was the strongest version to date, updating the language of Rep. Kelly’s previous amendments that were enacted into law in previous NDAAs. President Obama singed this bill into law on December 23, 2016.