Schumer rips ‘disappointing’ 9/11 bill veto, pledges override

Obama, Saudi Arabia
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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday criticized President Obama’s veto of legislation allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, predicting Congress will quickly overturn the decision. 

“This is a disappointing decision that will be swiftly and soundly overturned in Congress,” Schumer, expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader, said in a statement Friday. “I believe both parties will come together next week to make JASTA the law of the land.” 
{mosads}Schumer — echoing a familiar line from supporters of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) — added that “if the Saudis did nothing wrong, they should not fear this legislation.” 
“If they were culpable in 9/11, they should be held accountable. The families of the victims of 9/11 deserve their day in court, and justice for those families shouldn’t be thrown overboard because of diplomatic concerns,” he said. 
Obama delivered a long-expected veto of the legislation Friday, saying it would undermine “sovereign immunity” and the U.S.-Saudi relationship, as well as open up U.S. citizens to retaliatory measures.
The move kicks off a showdown with Congress. The White House launched an uphill lobbying campaign to sway lawmakers against the legislation after it passed Congress unanimously.
Senate Leadership, however, believes it has the 67 votes needed the complete its first veto override of Obama’s administration. Both chambers must reject the president’s veto with two-thirds supermajorities.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) — who spearheaded the bill along with Schumer — said the veto and the president’s “refusal to listen to the families of the victims taken from us on September 11th” is “disappointing.” 
“I look forward to the opportunity for Congress to override the President’s veto, provide these families with the chance to seek the justice they deserve, and send a clear message that we will not tolerate those who finance terrorism in the United States,” the Senate’s No. 2 Republican said in a statement. 

A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Friday that “the Senate will consider it as soon as practicable in this work period.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Friday he is “confident” lawmakers will override the president. 

“As evidence of Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks mounts, Congress will conclude that the loved ones of the victims deserve a fair day in court – simple justice,” Blumenthal said. 

“This veto denies Americans the opportunity to hold those evil extremists accountable through the very system of justice that they tried – and failed – to strike down.”

The Senate, which is currently debating a short-term spending resolution, will vote first on overriding the veto. 

Though a handful of lawmakers have voiced concerns about JASTA, backers of the bill got a boost of momentum this week when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would vote to override the veto. 
“I’ve worked with these families for a very long time, and I think they should have their day in court,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.
Under current U.S. law, victims may sue a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, such as Iran. The bill would allow citizens to sue countries without that designation, including Saudi Arabia. 
– Updated at 5:09 p.m.
Tags Charles Schumer John Cornyn Mitch McConnell Richard Blumenthal
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