Days before the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Friday that would allow victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role.
Dubbed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, the long-brewing measure received largely overwhelming support within Congress, but President Barack Obama has long been opposed to the notion and many believe he will veto the bill.
On the other hand, it’s entirely possible Obama, who has a little more than five months left in his second final term, could see his presidential veto overridden, according to Politico.
JASTA proponents have said the bill will give the families of 9/11 victims justice, but critics suggest the measure could greatly affect U.S. foreign relations with Saudi Arabia and with allies.
Under federal law, once the JASTA bill is sent to Obama, he has 10 days, not including Sundays, to veto it, which would then send the bill back to the Senate. Politico reports that the Senate is technically in session but it’s only to hinder Obama from employing a recess appointment for Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Congress will have to set a date for the override, which requires a two-thirds majority in the House, however since it’s an election year not only for the White House but also for many members of Congress, it’s highly unlikely any such vote would take place until after Election Day.
During his time in the Oval Office, Obama’s employed his constitutionally empowered right to veto legislation passed by Congress 10 times. Thus far, the House has been unable to override Obama’s vetoes. The most high-profile example came earlier this year when House Republicans attempted to pass a bill that would have repealed several top line provisions to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare and considered to be a major part of Obama’s legacy in office. The attempted veto override came up well short of the required majority, 241-186.