Obama veto of Saudi 9/11 lawsuits bill overridden by Congress

Obama veto of Saudi 9/11 lawsuits bill overridden by Congress

Obama veto of Saudi 9/11 lawsuits bill overridden by Congress

Written by Tharushan Fernando

29 Sep, 2016 | 9:14 am

Congress has voted to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that grant families of the victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabian officials,

The Senate voted 97-1 and the House of Representatives 348-77,meaning the bill becomes law.

Mr.Obama commented on the move stating that the lawmakers had made “a mistake” and argued that the could expose US companies, troops and officials to potential lawsuits abroad.

CIA Director John Brennan pointed out that the vote carried “grave implications” for national security, adding: “The downside is potentially huge.”

The House and Senate unanimously passed the legislation, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA),despite lobbying efforts by the Obama administration.

The bill amends a 1976 law that shields other countries from American lawsuits, which means that victims’ families now have the right to sue any member of the Saudi government suspected of playing a role in the 9/11 attacks.

The US President charged in his veto, that the bill would undermine US-Saudi relations. He also warned that this would open the risk of tit-for-tat lawsuits against US service members in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the vote was “the single most embarrassing thing the United States Senate has done” in decades. However supporters of the bill claimed that the legislation only applies to acts of terrorism that have occurred on US soil.

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