Using his veto power the US President Barack Obama on September 23 vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over its alleged ties with the terrorists who carried out the September 11/2001 attacks in the US.
The move though has not gone down well with many congressional leaders, who now plan to override President’s veto in the coming days.
They are also confident they can succeed in overturning the president’s action. If this happens, this would be for the first time during Obama’s presidency that Congress will override a veto.
The said legislation if implemented would allow U.S. courts to waive claims to foreign sovereign immunity in cases involving terrorism on the U.S. soil.
While Obama and the administration says that this would break a longstanding practice that protects sovereign nations from these types of legal threats, the White House is also worried that American officials could now be sued in foreign courts over U.S. military or diplomatic actions taken abroad.
The above situation thus worry the administration that it would pose a great threat to the national security.
“I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States. (But) Enacting (this legislation) into law, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”
The group of families of 9/11 victims, who have been advocating for the bill, though are “outraged and dismayed” over the president’s veto and have “rejected the unconvincing and unsupportable reasons that he offers as explanation.”
The bill was earlier passed in the House and Senate without any dissents, but since then several lawmakers have expressed misgivings with the measure echoing same concerns voiced by the White House.
The White House spokesman Josh Earnest even said that they have been getting conflicting signals from members of Congress, and was not sure if their concerns would lead them to vote against an override.
Though he added
“The president’s not blind to the politics of this situation, and opposing a bill championed by 9/11 families is politically inconvenient. But Obama is willing to take some heat because the risks the bill poses to the U.S. national security are too high.”
The override votes will likely take place next week.