When Barak Obama vetoed the legislation which allows families of the 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, many were outraged.
Since Congress had already passed the bill with no opposition, it in turn set up a veto override vote.
When Obama warned he intended to veto the bill, Congressional leadership and rank-and-file members predicted this would be the first time an Obama veto would be overridden.
And the results were a stinging rebuke to Obama.
The first move was made in the Senate, where the body voted 97-1 to override his veto.
“The sweeping popularity of the legislation — known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act — made it basically inevitable that the measure would ultimately become law, despite fierce objections from the Obama administration. The bill, known informally as JASTA, sailed through the Senate with no objections in the spring and was voice-voted in the House earlier this month.
“This legislation is really about pursuing justice,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), one of the chief sponsors of the bill, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “The families have already suffered too much. They’ve already suffered untold tragedy, of course, and they deserve to find a path to closure that only justice can provide.”
Schumer said “overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly.”
“But it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice,” Schumer added. “Even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts.”
Only Obama loyalist, Harry Reid, voted to uphold the veto.
Shortly after the vote in the Senate, the House voted 348 to 77, which was well above the two-thirds necessary to override the veto.
And that meant the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) will become law.
Supporters of the bill argued that the previously redacted pages of the 9/11 Commission Report revealed a connection between Saudi Arabia and two of the 9/11 hijackers.
But Obama and his administration stood with Saudi Arabia and against the families of 9/11 victims.
And they continued lashing out following the veto override.
The Hill reports:
“The White House lashed out at the Senate vote, calling it “embarrassing.”
“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The White House had little chance in preventing the override after Obama used his veto pen on Friday. “
Observers were stunned when the White House spokesmen backhandedly implied that allowing the families of 9/11 victims to achieve some measure of justice was “embarrassing”.
Critics argue the Obama administration’s loyalty should be to the American people and not foreign governments.
Obama’s position was so out-of-bounds even his own party abandoned him on the effort.
The veto override was a rare instance of Congress standing up to Obama.
In any other fight, Republicans would have folded at the first hint of resistance from the administration.
But few in Washington would want to be seen siding against the 9/11 victims and their families just weeks before an election.