Rep. Kelly Responds to President Obama’s Lame Duck Submission of UN Arms Trade Treaty to Senate for Ratification

Dec 15, 2016 Issues: Foreign Affairs and Defense

Kelly amendment has banned federal funding

for treaty’s implementation since 2013

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s recent submission of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. Although U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the controversial treaty on October 15, 2013, the White House has not submitted it to the Senate for approval, as the Constitution requires, until this month. A consistent majority of senators oppose the treaty and have supported Rep. Kelly’s annual amendment to prevent the Obama administration from circumventing Congress to implement it.

“President Obama knows full well that this dangerous treaty is dead on arrival in the Senate, which is why he waited this long to submit it for approval. By passing my amendment to block ATT funding every year, Congress has affirmed a lasting opposition to it. As one expert rightly stated, ‘the treaty is fundamentally misconceived, and reflects a misbegotten mix of liberal illusions about the power and effectiveness of treaties and anti-firearms activism.’ It would undermine our national sovereignty, harm our most vulnerable allies, and threaten the Second Amendment rights of the American people. If the Senate grants the treaty a vote, then I urge the entire body to reject it. I expect and encourage President-elect Trump’s future administration to not only trash the treaty but also make clear to the U.N. that the U.S. will never be part of it.”


Rep. Kelly is 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. A follow-up letter was sent to the White House on April, 20, 2014.

On September 5, 2014, Rep. Kelly submitted a letter to President Obama voicing opposition to the planned First Conference of State Parties (CSP) to the ATT – a UN-backed gathering to shape the treaty’s future – due to its exclusion of any organizations critical of the treaty.

On March 2, 2015, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Obama co-signed by 34 new members of Congress elected in 2014 to express unified opposition to the ATT and a firm commitment to deny any federal funding for the treaty’s implementation.

On December 2, 2016, the House passed the House-Senate Conference Report of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, which once again included an amendment offered annually by Rep. Kelly to prohibit funding for the implementation of the ATT by the Department of Defense (DoD). This amendment has been enacted into law with every NDAA, and other appropriations legislation, each year since 2013.