The Senate votes to veto President Barack Obama’s Saudi 9/11 bill, paving the way for victims families to pursue legal cases against the Saudi government. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
U.S. Senate rejects Obama veto of Saudi Sept. 11 bill
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: The U.S. Senate on Wednesday (September 28) overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia’s government.
The final vote was 97-1 against the veto. Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid was the lone “no” vote.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and is a former White House contender, did not vote.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut said victims families deserve to have their day in court.
“There is mounting evidence that the Saudi government or at least organizations and operatives within the Saudi government aided and abetted one of the most massive crimes in the United States. In our system, the truth behind those facts deserves to be presented in court. A court of law where fairness and justice will be assured,” Blumenthal said on the Senate floor.
Blumenthal added “if the Saudi government had no involvement in 9/11, It has nothing to fear but if it was culpable it should be held accountable.”
Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, echoed the overwhelming sentiments of the senate body.
“The financing of terrorism in the United States is not behavior we should tolerate from any nation, allies included. How can anyone look at the families in the eye and tell them that they shouldn’t have the opportunity to seek justice against a foreign government responsible for the death of their loved one?”
The measure next goes to the House of Representatives, which was due to vote later on Wednesday. If two-thirds of House members also support the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” it would be the first veto override of Obama’s eight-year presidency.
The Saudi government, a frequent U.S. partner in the Middle East, strongly opposed the bill, known as JASTA.
Obama had argued that the legislation could expose U.S. companies, troops and officials to lawsuits, and alienate important allies at a time of global unrest.