As expected, US President Barack Obama has vetoed a new legislation mooted by families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.
Obama now faces the challenge from Congress, which may go for a rare veto override, the first of its kind during Obama’s presidency.
Obama stated the new legislation may affect U.S. national security and could affect some of its natural allies in the Gulf countries, also adding that it would also signal shifting major terrorism-related issues from policy makers to courts.
The bill has been approved by both Senate and House of Representatives in the wake of accusation against Saudi Arabia by US airlines, as out of the 19 hijackers 15 were Saudis.
Obama said the bill(JASTA) would lead to setting precedents that would allow other countries to sue U.S. officials or diplomats.
“Removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated as state sponsors of terrorism, based solely on allegations that such foreign governments’ actions abroad had a connection to terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine these longstanding principles that protect the United States, our forces, and our personnel,” Obama expressed his opinion.
Senator Chuck Schumer, who spearheaded a campaign for the new legislation, had earlier said, it may not be easy for the President to block the bill with his veto.
Schumer, New York senator and the current No. 3 Democrat in the US Senate, has said, the bill would be “swiftly and soundly overturned,” soon after hearing about the veto.
Most of the 9/11 victims are from New York.
Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, said they favor the passing of the new bill.
But, if the bill received two-thirds majority in both the Senate and House, it can survive for the first time in Obama’s presidency, and probably last too.
It was the 12th veto by the president in his tenure. Obama will step down in January.