The US Senate voted 97-1 to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill that would allow Americans to potentially sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11. This is the first veto override during the Obama presidency.
Obama vetoed the bill last week, explaining that the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) would erode the doctrine of sovereign immunity and expose the US to lawsuits around the world.
The override vote was the “single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done” in over two decades, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
JASTA, which passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, allows US judges to waive sovereign immunity claims when dealing with acts of terrorism committed on American soil – potentially allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.