Barack Obama hasn’t had a single one of his vetoes overturned throughout his entire presidency — but that may be about to change.
Weeks ago, the House and Senate both voted unanimously, through a voice vote, to pass the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis expressed strong opposition to the bill, and even threatened to divest from U.S. assets if it were to be passed. Obama pledged to veto the bill if passed — and indeed vetoed it last Friday.
Since the act was passed unanimously through a voice vote, it wasn’t known with certainly if there would be the majority needed to override Obama’s veto, but as Fox News just reported, just days after Obama’s veto, that veto is halfway to being overturned.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to overturn President Obama’s veto of a bill letting families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government, bringing Congress within reach of completing the first successful veto override of Obama’s presidency.
The Senate voted 97-1 to reject the veto. The measure heads next to the House, where lawmakers will need to muster a two-thirds majority, as in the Senate, to override.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on the Senate floor moments before Wednesday’s vote, pushed back hard on Saudi government objections to the legislation, which has broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.
“It’s very simple. If the Saudis were culpable, they should be held accountable. If they had nothing to do with 9/11, they have nothing to fear,” Schumer said.
Obama’s veto was so unpopular that even Nancy Pelosi said she’d vote to overturn it.
It’s now up to the House to put the final nail in the coffin of Obama’s veto, and looking at the overwhelming majority to overturn the veto we saw in the Senate, we shouldn’t expect anything less from the House.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]