U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to veto the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a bill passed by Congress that would allow those who were affected by 9/11 to file lawsuits against the government of Saudi Arabia due to its alleged involvement in the 2001 terrorist attack. However, in preparation for the veto, members of the Congress are planning on overriding the executive decision.
First introduced in 2009, the bill, also known as JASTA, passed the Senate unopposed through a voice vote. It was drafted due to the growing allegation that the Saudi government secretly supported the terrorists who hijacked the four U.S. commercial planes in 2001 to carry out separate attacks on the country.
Due to concerns about the bill exposing U.S. diplomats, companies and other officials currently based in Saudi Arabia to potential lawsuits, the Obama administration has expressed interest in rejecting JASTA. Although it is not yet clear when that will happen, the U.S. President is expected to make his decision this week, according to CNN.
“White House officials and other senior officials on the President’s national security team have engaged members of Congress and their staffs in both parties in both houses,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“As soon as the President has put pen to paper, we’ll be sure and let all of you know,” he added.
However, since the bill passed through Congress without opposition, this means it has gathered enough support to allow lawmakers to override Obama’s veto.
House Speaker Paul Ryan recently expressed his concern regarding the override because he believes lawmakers could take advantage of JASTA to expose and endanger U.S. assets in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.
Speaking on the matter, the European Union also warned about the international consequences of the bill once implemented. Specifically, the EU noted that other countries might pass their own similar legislations, which could then lead to the weakening of the State sovereignty immunity principle.