A bill opposed by the Obama administration that would expose Saudi Arabia to legal jeopardy for any role in the Sept. 11 attacks appeared to gain momentum on Tuesday when the senator holding it up said he would be open to supporting it.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in an interview on Tuesday that he would drop his opposition to the bill — predicting it could pass the Senate next week — if the sponsors of the legislation agreed to changes that he believed were important to protect American interests abroad. He did not specify what changes he was requesting.
“The goal is to bring people to justice who have been involved in terrorism,” Mr. Graham said. But he added, “I don’t want Americans to be held liable because of one bad actor in some embassy somewhere.”
Mr. Graham was an original co-sponsor of the bill, but has tried to block the legislation in recent days as his concerns grew about possible unintended consequences.
Obama administration officials have been vigorously lobbying against the Sept. 11 bill, which has broad bipartisan support, arguing that Americans overseas could be put in legal jeopardy if other nations were to retaliate and strip them of immunity in foreign courts. But the measure is gaining support in Congress at a time when many lawmakers are demanding greater scrutiny of Washington’s alliance with the kingdom, which for decades has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy in the Middle East and once the subject of little examination on Capitol Hill.