Obama Will Veto 9/11 Saudi Lawsuits Bill

White House says it could harm US interests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2016 12:02 AM CDT
Obama Will Veto 9/11 Saudi Lawsuits Bill
Blue beams of the Tribute in Light pierce the air over the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

President Obama has used his veto 11 times without being overridden, but he may not be so lucky with No. 12. The White House says Obama plans to veto a bill that would allow 9/11 survivors and families to sue Saudi Arabia for damages, Reuters reports. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in May and sailed through the House on a voice vote Friday, indicating a level of support that congressional aides say should secure the two-thirds majorities in both houses needed for a veto. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama opposes the bill because he can picture other governments "using this law as an excuse to haul US diplomats or US service members or even US companies into courts all around the world."

"The concept of sovereign immunity is one that protects the United States as much as any other country in the world," Earnest says. The New York Times notes that Obama is now in an "awkward position" in opposition both to 9/11 families and many Democratic lawmakers. Earnest says that many members of Congress privately agree with Obama about the bill's possible harm to US interests, but they're "concerned about the impact this might have on their political standing." Reuters notes that the bill was sent to Obama Monday night, giving him a 10-day window to veto it, if Congress remains in session. (Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi, and a 9/11 commission member says they had support from Saudi officials.)

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