Half of the Senate and more than two-fifths of the members of the House of Representatives have advised the administration of their opposition to the global conventional arms trade treaty it signed last month, raising questions about its future implementation in the U.S., the world’s largest arms exporter.In a move largely overshadowed by the standoff over government funding and Obamacare, 50 senators sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, pledging not to consent to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and urging him to notify its depository – the U.N. secretary-general – that the U.S. does not intend to ratify.In order for a treaty to be ratified, no more than 33 senators can oppose it.Led by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), the letter was signed by every Senate Republican except Sen. Mark Kirk (R–Ill.), and by five Democrats – Sens. Manchin, Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).
Also on Wednesday, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) sent a letter signed by 181 House members from both parties, informing the president they reject the ATT and will “oppose any efforts by this administration or future ones to implement or enforce this treaty through executive action.”
While the Senate has advise and consent authority on international treaties, the House would be responsible for funding the ATT’s implementation in the U.S. and for passing any implementing legislation that may be necessary.