President Obama vetoes bipartisan bill that would let families of 9/11 victims sue the government of Saudi Arabia, setting up a showdown with Congress where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle aim to override the president’s decision.
By Jordan Fabian – 09/23/16 04:26 PM EDT
President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S courts, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Congress.
Obama’s move opens up the possibility that lawmakers could override his veto for the first time with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.
Republican and Democratic leaders have said they are committed to holding an override vote, and the bill’s drafters say they have the support to force the bill to become law.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) unanimously passed through both chambers by voice vote.
But the timing of the president’s veto is designed to erode congressional support for the bill and put off a politically damaging override vote until after the November elections.
Obama waited until the very end of the 10-day period he had to issue a veto, hoping to buy time to lobby members of Congress against the measure.
White House officials also hope congressional leaders will leave Washington to hit the campaign trail before trying for an override, kicking a vote to the lame-duck session after the election.