White House fury at Congress for their first successful veto override of President Obama’s entire presidency, and Congressional desperation to have their cake and eat it too have led to dueling narratives on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), centered primarily around whose “fault” it was.
The American public overwhelmingly supports JASTA, which led to both houses of Congress unanimously voting for it. President Obama vetoed it, citing Saudi objections and the risk of “unintended consequences,” but on Wednesday, Congress overrode that veto.
The White House is mocking Congress for acting hastily, saying they have “buyer’s remorse.” Congressional leaders, by contrast, are saying that the White House didn’t warn them hard enough that JASTA was “dangerous,” by which of course, is meant that the Saudis are outraged and threatening retaliation.
In practice neither argument makes any sense, as Congress knew full well they were virtually obliged to override the veto of a hugely popular bill just a little over a month ahead of the election, and the White House and the Saudi lobby both made it very obvious that the Saudis would be super mad about it.
Indeed, the “solution” that the Congressional leadership seems to be headed toward is to simply pretend they overrode the veto in good faith until the election is out of the way, then pass legislation effectively dismantling the law immediately thereafter, safe from the reach of the voters and free to again focus on pleasing the Saudis.