TIME Congress

President Obama Set To Veto Bill Allowing 9/11 Families to Sue Saudi Arabia

He says the bill would make U.S. diplomats and service members vulnerable to lawsuits

President Obama is set to veto legislation on Friday that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia.

Obama has until midnight to veto the bill, which he thinks undermines sovereign immunity and will make U.S. diplomats and service members vulnerable to lawsuits. The White House confirmed Thursday that a veto will come before the deadline: “We believe this is a bad bill,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, Yahoo News reports. “It’s why the president’s going to veto it.”

But Congress will likely try to override the president’s veto, which would mark the first veto override of his presidency. A veto override requires two-thirds opposition.

“If this bill were to enter into force, if the President’s veto were overridden, the United States government, U.S. service members, U.S. diplomats, and even, potentially, U.S. companies are at risk of being hauled into court in countries all around the world,” Earnest said Thursday.

But Congressional leadership has signaled they believe they have the support they need for an override. “Our assumption is that the veto will be overridden,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, CNN reports. Then House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday, “I do think the votes are there for the override.”


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