President Obama is well on his way to having his first veto override of his entire presidency today, as the Senate voted today to override his veto of the 9/11 victims bill, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The House is also expected to override this week, and may do so as soon as this afternoon.
Intense lobbying by both the Obama Administration and the Saudi government didn’t amount to much in the end, with strong public support leading to a 97-1 veto override vote today. The lone defector from the unanimous vote back in May was Sen. Harry Reid (D – NV).
JASTA allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over its role in the plot. Saudi officials have previously threatened to collapse the US treasuries market if the bill becomes law, and the Obama Administration has repeatedly warned the bill is hugely dangerous to US taxpayers.
President Obama has argued that other nations could reciprocate with bills allowing people to sue the United States over its own misdeeds. Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday argued that the suit against the Saudis itself could threaten US troops, claiming that “American secrets” could become public knowledge during the lawsuit.