After passing both chambers of congress a bill that allowed private citizens to sue the Saudi Arabian government for their complicity in the 9-11 terrorist attacks was sent to President Barack Obama, who followed up on his promise to veto the legislation. The veto was seen as a losing proposition for Obama. Either he could sign the bill into law, thereby alienating America’s Saudi Arabian ally, or he could veto the bill knowing that it passed both chambers with such popularity that an override of his veto was likely — which would embarrass Obama in the last days of his presidency. The latter is exactly what transpired and Obama now looks like a lame-duck president.
The senate was the first to take up the task of overriding Obama, and it passed the chamber with an overwhelming 97 to 1 vote. The only democrat who voted on Obama’s side was outgoing Minority Leader, Senator Harry Reid, of Nevada, who is retiring from politics when his term ends in January.
Obama’s spokesperson, Josh Earnest, spoke to reporters while flying on Air Force One. He said, “I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.”
The main concern of the president, and the reason for his veto, involved giving private citizens the ability to become involved in complex foreign affairs. He wrote in a letter, “The consequences of JASTA could be devastating to the Department of Defense and its service members — and there is no doubt that the consequences could be equally significant for our foreign affairs and intelligence communities.”
Regardless, now the House of Representatives are the only thing standing in the way of this bill becoming the law of the land. The Republican-dominated House expects no trouble in overriding Obama.