Barack Obama has been president of the United States for 2,807 days. In that whole time, he has been opposed or obstructed by Congress many times. But no veto of his has ever been overturned. This morning, the Senate voted to override his veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a controversial legislation allowing the families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia over that country’s alleged ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Just minutes ago, the House followed 348-77.
All 12 members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation voted today for veto override. (hat/tip Zachary Israel)
JASTA will now become law. And the president, whose tenure is now down to short months and weeks, has been delivered his first veto override.
The impact is likely to be felt most strongly by the loved ones of 9/11 victims from New York, and New Jersey – the states where we lost the most people that day – and Connecticut, plus Washington D.C. and its suburbs. It was 9/11 families who have urged this bill all along, those who want to be free to sue officials of Saudi Arabia if they’re found to have links to the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into the ground at Shanksville, PA.
The Senate vote was 91-1. No Democrat came to the floor to advocate for Obama’s position on this. Only Harry Reid voted to sustain the president’s veto. Only senators Tim Kaine and Bernie Sanders, both on the road stumping for Hillary Clinton, missed the vote.
On Friday, Pres. Obama vetoed JASTA. Among his objects objections is a concern JASTA will undermine protections for our military, intelligence and foreign service personnel overseas, that foreign governments will retaliate against American officials.
Among the bill’s co-sponsors: Bob Menendez in the Senate, and in the House, congress members Frelinghuysen, Garrett, Lance, LoBiondo, MacArthur, Pascrell and Smith. In editorials, the New York Times and other newspapers sided with the president. Below, video of this morning’s vote in the Senate: