World Bulletin / News Desk
Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation that allows the victims of terror attacks to sue foreign governments, marking Obama's first congressional override.
The measure received support well beyond a two-thirds super majority to pass Congress, officially receiving 97 votes in favor in the 100-member Senate, and 348 votes in the 435-seat House.
The Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act is backed by families of Sept. 11, 2001, victims who are seeking the ability to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the devastating attack.
Terry Strada, whose husband died in the World Trade Center in New York, earlier told ABC News, "this is Congress doing the right thing."
Versions of the bill have been circulating around the Capitol for years, but only this year has it received enough support to see a full vote.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the senate vote "embarrassing.
"Ultimately these senators are going to have to answer their own conscience and their constituents as they account for their actions today," he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The Obama administration has maintained that the legislation would have unintended consequences for the U.S., opening the door for lawsuits aimed at U.S. service members, diplomats and other officials.
Calling it a "political vote", Obama said on Wednesday the bill would set "a dangerous precedent" that could put US troops and interests at risk.
"If we eliminate this notion of sovereign immunity, then our men and women in uniform around the world could potentially start seeing ourselves subject to reciprocal loss," Obama said during a town hall meeting-style interview on CNN, referring to potential lawsuits.
During public remarks Wednesday, CIA Director John Brennan called the legislation "badly misguided.
"Foreign governments are going to start to pass similar types of legislation that is going to haul the United States into court overseas even for the most frivolous of charges and allegations," he said.
Speaking on the Senate floor prior to the vote, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker acknowledged that the bill is not perfect, but said he would support it "with tremendous reservations and concerns.
"I do so understanding that there could be in fact unintended consequences that work against our national interest and with a determination, should that occur, to work with others in this body to try to overcome that," he said.
The bill now becomes law.
source: AFP/Al Jazeera
Last Mod: 29 Eylül 2016, 08:41