For the first time in Barack Obama’s two term presidency, Congress was able to override the president’s veto of a bipartisan bill that would let families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government.
In an overwhelming defeat for the Obama, the House overrode this bill into law with 348 votes in favor and 77 against. The Senate also passed this measure hours earlier with a 97-1 vote.
The Obama administration tried to claim that the legislation could hurt national security and was “badly misguided,” but a clear majority of lawmakers though otherwise.
“This bill is about respecting the voices and rights of American victims,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.
“It’s very simple. If the Saudis were culpable, they should be held accountable. If they had nothing to do with 9/11, they have nothing to fear,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Whether lawmakers truly supported this override is questionable since elections are coming up very quickly and no candidate wants to be known as the lawmaker who denied the victims of 9/11 familied their right to seek justice on those who killed their loved ones.
In a letter to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid, Obama tried to warn the congressmen that the bill could be used as precedent for other countries to sue America for any “U.S. policies and activities that they oppose.”
“As a result, our nation and its armed forces, State Department, intelligence officials and others may find themselves subject to lawsuits in foreign courts.” Obama wrote.
Since 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudi nationals, this legislation will the families of victims the right to sue the Saudi government for any role they may have played in the attacks.
If congress was going to override any legislation during Obama’s eight years in the White House, this bill was definitely a good one to get passed into law.
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