It turns out that election-year politics is more important than fat honoraria from Saudi petrodollars after all…
The Senate on Wednesday voted to override President Obama’s veto of a bill letting the victims of the 9/11 attacks sue Saudi Arabia, striking a blow to the president on foreign policy weeks before he leaves office.
The 97-1 vote marks the first time the Senate has mustered enough votes to overrule Obama’s veto pen.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was the sole vote to sustain Obama’s veto. Not a single Democrat came to the Senate floor before the vote to argue in favor of Obama’s position.
Lawmakers don’t want to be seen as soft on punishing terrorist sponsors a few weeks before the election, at a time when voters are increasingly worried about radical Islamic terrorism in the wake of recent attacks in Manhattan, Minnesota and Orlando, Fla.
The House will take up the matter next, and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters last week that he expects there be to enough votes for an override.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, would create an exception in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow the victims of terrorism to sue foreign sponsors of attacks on U.S. soil.
It was crafted primarily at the urging of the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks who want to sue Saudi Arabian officials found to have links with the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
It passed the Senate and House unanimously in May and September, respectively, but without roll-call votes.