Eight Year, One Veto, One Override: 9/11 Bill to Become Law

By Tiffany Cobb

For the first time in Barack Obama’s eight year presidency, Congress overrode a bill that he vetoed.

On Tuesday Sept. 20, President Obama vetoed the 9/11 Bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government for any part they may have had in the terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the nineteen attackers were of Saudi descent.

Obama presented his veto with the understanding that compensation should be given to those who suffered from the terrorist attack. However he felt that the bill was the wrong way to approach the topic.

Congress did not agree with the veto and overrode it with overwhelming votes in both the House and the Senate.

Congress agreed those affected by the 9/11 attack might seek justice through the courts allowing suits against a country they feel holds responsibility for the attacks. This may help the victims and their families reach closure after years of hurt.

While the bill may not take away the pain of the families, Congress hopes the bill can in some way bring about justice for the victims.
Congress may not have fully considered the diplomatic retaliation the new bill may bring. Saudi Arabia has threatened to remove themselves from billions of dollars worth of holdings they have in the United States. Some economists say this will do more harm to the Saudi government than to America, but the risk remains.

The new 9/11 Bill changes current laws which prevent foreign countries from being sued in US Federal Court.

However, the 9/11 Bill changes the law and allows foreign countries to be sued in the federal court system if they are suspected of playing a part in a terrorist attack, resulting in the deaths of U.S. citizens in America.

While it seems as if Congress is not considering, or perhaps has outweighed the diplomatic repercussions, it is a main concern of President Obama’s even after his overridden veto.

When asked about the override, Obama continues to stress that while he understands where Congress is coming from, he believes it is ultimately not the best decision for the United States.
To hear more of President Obama’s view on the veto of the 9/11 Bill, view the CNN interview here.

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