Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he’ll move forward with a plan to let Americans sue the Chinese government over the coronavirus pandemic by amending a law that protects foreign countries from lawsuits in U.S. courts.
“Now the time has come for us to put on the table new tools to deal with an old problem,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said. “I cannot think of a more compelling idea than to allow individual Americans, or groups of Americans, to bring lawsuits against a culprit — the Chinese government — for the damage done to their family, to our economy and to the psyche of our nation.”
Graham said his committee will consider legislation to amend the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. GOP Senators Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley have offered separate proposals to allow suits against China over the virus.
The law was last amended in 2016 when Congress, over the objections of the Obama administration, voted to let victims of terrorism sue any foreign government — not just designated terrorist states — for sponsoring terrorism. The change revived lawsuits against Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
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