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.
“I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured,” Obama wrote in his veto message. “Enacting JASTA into law, however would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”
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.