Rep. Kelly Urges President to Reverse Course on U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

- WASHINGTON — Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) authored and submitted a letter to President Obama on April 2, 2014 – the first anniversary of the majority-rule adoption by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – reminding the president of the bipartisan letter he sent him last fall pledging to oppose the implementation of the treaty (to which the White House never responded) and reiterating that pledge, while encouraging the president to reconsider his administration’s support for the treaty.

Excerpts of Rep. Kelly’s letter to President Obama:

“I write to express my continued concern and regret at your decision to sign the treaty, at your failure to respond to the bipartisan letter which I led last fall, and at your efforts to implement the treaty without first obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate and implementing legislation, as required, by the full Congress.

“On October 15, 2013, I led 181 members of the House of Representatives in a letter to you pledging to oppose ratification of the treaty, and giving notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose. In that letter, we set out six substantive concerns for this position, and invited your response.

“Though Assistant Secretary of State Tom Countryman stated in November that the administration is ‘ready to discuss [the treaty] with people who don’t agree with us . . . and have offered to do so . . . repeatedly with very little response,’ we have not received even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

“I must conclude from this fact that your administration is not interested in responding substantively to the concerns we have raised. Particularly in view of our particular responsibility over the power of the purse, and of your proclaimed intention to rely on executive actions to achieve your policy objectives, I find this troubling.”

“I 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. I reiterate my pledge to lead my colleagues in opposing the ratification of this treaty, and I repeat our previous notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose. Lastly, I now urge you to end any and all efforts to implement the treaty before it passes completely through the entire U.S. ratification process, and thereby to show the respect for the constitutional processes that you are sworn to uphold.”

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