President Obama intends to veto a bill which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.
“The president does plan to veto this legislation,” Earnest said, reiterating, “I do anticipate the president will veto the legislation when it is presented to him. It hasn’t been presented to him yet.”
According to The Hill, this could be the first time Congress would be able to override an Obama veto. Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Administration to leave the bill alone for the sake of the 9/11 victims’ families, and for the sake of their reelection come November. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the veto would ignite a showdown between the White House and Congress that would damage the president and make him less effective on the serious issues, namely the fight over the budget in the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote in both the House and Senate.
Earnest cautioned that “this law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” and added that “the president will continue to explain his opposition to this legislation … up until Congress decides whether to override his veto.”
The Saudi dominated, six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced on Monday that the proposed law “contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” possibly assuming this sovereign immunity includes the right to plot an attack on major civilian centers of the host country.
GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani also said in an unveiled threat that “such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism.”