September 22, 2010

Lautenberg, Menendez, Schumer And Gillibrand Urge President To Nominate Commissioners To The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission

Payments To Victims Of Terrorism Remain Stalled While Commission Seats Sit Empty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on President Obama to quickly fill empty seats on the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) so that victims of terror and their family members can receive the compensation they deserve.  Currently, the Commission cannot function because only one of three commissioners is in place.  As a result, more than 200 claims from victims of Libyan terrorism are pending.  

The Federal Claims Settlement Commission is an independent agency within the Department of Justice.  It was created in 1954 to adjudicate claims of U.S. nationals against foreign governments.  Commissioners are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  

A PDF of the Senators’ letter to President Obama can be found here: http://lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/ForeignClaims.pdf  

Text of letter:

 

September 22, 2010

 

The Honorable Barack Obama
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

            We write to respectfully request the prompt nomination of two qualified and capable individuals to be commissioners on the Department of Justice Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.

            As you know, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission plays a critical role in ensuring U.S. victims of terrorism receive the compensation they so rightly deserve.  According to U.S. law, the Commission should be composed of a chairman and two additional commissioners.  At least two members of the Commission are needed to constitute a quorum and process any claims.  

            We are concerned that currently the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission has only one commissioner and thus lacks a quorum and is unable to adjudicate submitted claims.  This has completely halted the processing of any claims submitted by U.S. nationals against foreign governments.  For example, there are currently over 200 claims from victims of Libyan terrorism awaiting adjudication.  Many of the victims have waited years, even decades, to receive compensation for their injury or loss.  We must do everything we can to facilitate the adjudication process. 

            As such, we urge you to promptly nominate two qualified and capable individuals to serve as commissioners on the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and we look forward to considering these nominations in the Senate.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 

FRANK LAUTENBERG

ROBERT MENENDEZ

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

CHARLES SCHUMER

 

United States Senate