By: Azl Saeed ~Staff Writer~
The first Congressional override of President Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency occurred on Sept. 28. Obama previously vetoed legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia.
Since 9/11 is a topic that many Americans feel passionate about, this veto was especially prominent due to the closeness of the presidential election. The Senate voted to override the veto 97-1, and the House voted 348-77, overwhelming majorities for both. Senate Minority leader Harry Reid was the only senator to reject the override.
As a result, some have been quick to accuse Obama of prioritizing the Saudi relationship over the American people.
One such accuser was New Jersey Representative Chris Smith, who strongly advised others to override the veto. He criticized Obama for prioritizing the Saudi king’s desires over the U.S. and insisted that Congress “right the wrong.”
Similarly, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani congratulated Congress for correcting the president’s “mistakes” and even described the president’s original veto as “an insult to the families of those we lost on 9/11.”
However, others support Obama’s veto. Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the White House, described the override as “the single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done.”
The president’s concern with this specific legislation was that it could potentially damage America’s already tense relationship with Saudi Arabia. He insisted that it would not protect the American people from any future attacks.
Obama has acknowledged that his decisions are difficult ones, especially when they concern the protection and emotions of the American people, but he stands by his decision to veto the bill. He also expressed that he worries Congress voted purely based on emotions rather than critical evaluations of the reality of this legislation.
The passage of the 9/11 bill could open a door for other countries to pass similar legislation and sue the U.S. government for past involvements in wars.
CIA Director John Brennan asserted that national security will be negatively affected by this legislation.
The argument against this is that justice for the 9/11 victims’ families is more important than the U.S. and Saudi relationship.