Rep. Kelly Seeks Continuation of Funding Ban for UN Arms Trade Treaty in FY 2015 Appropriations Bills

More than 80 Members of Congress co-sign letters in support of Kelly amendments to prohibit ATT funding

WASHINGTON — Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding four letters he authored and submitted to the bipartisan leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Programs requesting updated and strengthened language prohibiting federal funding of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in each of the subcommittees’ respective appropriation bills for fiscal year 2015, including an explicit ban on the use of funds to engage in domestic prosecutions on the basis of the ATT. The letters can be viewed here, here, here, and here.

“Thanks to widespread alarm over the ATT in Congress and across our country last year, legislation was enacted to ban any spending of taxpayer dollars on this dangerous treaty for one full year. The efforts of those of us opposed to the ATT were able to make history by having the president approve the funding ban and, by doing so, undermine a treaty his own administration signed just two months prior. Nevertheless, the ATT’s threat to our national sovereignty and our Constitutional rights regrettably lives on. President Obama’s ominous pledge to ‘use [his] pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions’ to advance his agenda without Congress demands continued vigilance. Today’s letters request that proper action be taken to prevent this severely flawed treaty from ever endangering our country, our rights, or our allies around the world.”

NOTE: Signatories of Rep. Kelly’s letters include 7 committee chairmen: Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), as well as Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA)

BACKGROUND: 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 currently has 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 June 14, 2013, Rep. Kelly introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 to prohibit federal funding for the implementation of the ATT for one year by the Department of Defense. The amendment was adopted unanimously by a voice vote and included in the final passage of the NDAA by the House of Representatives. The House-Senate compromise NDAA, which included an updated version of the Kelly amendment, was passed by the House on December 12, 2013; passed by the Senate on December, 19, 2013; and signed by President Obama on December 26, 2013.

On July 24, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee approved the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014 which imposes a one-year ban on the use of federal funds for the implementation of the ATT by the State Department. The ban is based on language from a bipartisan letter which Rep. Kelly authored and submitted to the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee on April 18, 2013. A version of this ban was integrated into H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which temporarily funded the government between October 1, 2013 and January 15, 2014.