Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

U.S. Congress Overrides Obama’s Veto on JASTA Bill | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55359274

President Obama wipes a tear. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Washington- The members of the House and Senate voted against the veto of the U.S. President Barack Obama on JASTA bill, (Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act).

The Senate approved the override on a 97-1 vote, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid the lone Senator voting to sustain the president’s veto. Hours later, the vote in the House was 348-76.

“I’ve read President Obama’s veto message and it’s not persuasive,” Senator John Cornyn said, adding “Achieving justice can’t occur when the government is immune against individuals prosecuting it. The purpose of this bill is to respect the rights and voices of American victims more than these of other governments.”

The U.S. President warned of the bill complications, noting that JASTA will not protect the Americans from terrorist attacks and will not even improve the U.S. reaction to these attacks.

Obama said in a letter to Senate leaders on Tuesday that JASTA will harm the U.S. national interests on a wide range and for this reason he returned the bill to the congress without an approval.

CIA Director John Brennan said on Wednesday that legislation to allow lawsuits against the government of Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 attacks has “grave implications” for U.S. national security.

“The most damaging consequence would be for those U.S. Government officials who dutifully work overseas on behalf of our country. The principle of sovereign immunity protects U.S. officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity,” Brennan said. “If we fail to uphold this standard for other countries, we place our own nation’s officials in danger.”

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest called the vote the “single most embarrassing thing” the Senate has done since 1983. He accused members of the Senate Judiciary Committee of not understanding the legislation and its impact on the military.

Along the past weeks, the White House held intensive negotiations with the Congress members to shed light on the complications of passing this law.