Senate overrides Obama’s veto of 9/11 bill allowing families to sue Saudi Arabia

Senate overrides Obama's veto of 9/11 bill allowing families to sue Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday dealt President Barack Obama the first override in his two terms, proceeding with a bill allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the terrorist attacks.

The vote was 97-1, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid the lone dissension, to override Obama’s 13th veto. The Senate needed two-thirds of its members to reject the veto. The Republican-dominated House is also poised to override the veto and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has already said she will vote along with Republicans.

On Friday, Obama vetoed the legislation — known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA.

The president sent a three-page letter explaining his position to Congress. He said
Americans would be opened up to similar lawsuits from foreign nations and it would infringe on the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

“Both parties will come together,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s lead authors. “The families of the victims of 9/11 deserve their day in court, and justice for those families shouldn’t be thrown overboard because of diplomatic concerns.”

People with connections to the Saudi government allegedly developed the plot to hijack airplanes and destroy key U.S. landmarks, including the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon.

So-called “28 pages” of a congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks released earlier this year noted the possible connection.

The 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday urging lawmakers to override “the President’s unjustifiable veto.”

“I mean, do we have a democracy or does Saudi Arabia own us?” Terry Strada, national chairwoman for, told USA Today.

She drove to Washington on Tuesday from her home in New Jersey to lobby for the override.

CIA Director John Brennan warned the bill could have “grave implications” for national security.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said it could “undermine” counter-terrorism efforts abroad.

Congress was able to override George W. Bush four times, all when Democrats had control of both chambers. Bill Clinton was overriden twice. Harry S. Truman and Gerald Ford had the most overrides in the modern era: 12.


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