Showdown: Congress looks to override Obama veto of 9/11 bill

Showdown: Congress looks to override Obama veto of 9/11 bill

On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters he was "inclined to vote to override the president".

Democrats and Republicans are vowing to decisively override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill to allow families of September 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for the kingdom's alleged backing of the terrorists who killed almost 3,000 people. The legislation, according to Obama, could leave American troops and diplomats overseas vulnerable to lawsuits in foreign courts from people seeking redress for actions taken by armed groups that are backed or trained by the United States.

The Senate has scheduled an override vote for Wednesday and the House is expected to act before the end of the week. The bill had sailed through both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support, clearing the final hurdle just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Those wishing to contact their senators to express support for JASTA can find the contact information here, and should do so before Wednesday.

She said the vote was about giving a day in court to survivors and relatives of victims of the 2001 attacks, not a rebuke of Obama.

The bill had triggered a perceived threat by Saudi Arabia to pull billions of dollars from the US economy if it was enacted.

This isn't the first time either chamber has attempted to override President Obama's veto. But the commission's narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government had played a role. Saudi Arabia, a key USA ally, strongly objected to the bill.

"We must protect the people we rely on to carry out USA policy", Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, wrote Sunday in a letter to Democrats.

Advocates for the Sept 11 families are eager to see JASTA remove the legal veil of protection that's prevented them from moving forward against Saudi officials in a lawsuit filed in the Southern District Court of NY. Fifteen of the attackers were Saudi nationals. The allegations were never substantiated by later USA investigations.

"As far as I'm concerned this bill is a done deal", Cornyn said. The bill then becomes law, regardless of opposition from the White House.

Both chambers passed the measure without dissent earlier this year, but now many lawmakers are echoing the White House's argument that the legislation could set a unsafe precedent, inviting other nations to respond by suing American diplomats, military personnel and other officials in foreign courts.

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