For the first time in President Obama’s tenure, the Senate is set to override his veto of a bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts.
The president vetoed the bill Friday, citing concerns that it could open the U.S. government to similar lawsuits.
"Our concern extends not just to the impact this would have on our relationship with Saudi Arabia, but rather the impact that this could have on the United States' relationship with countries around the world,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday.
The White House is also concerned that the bill could tarnish the U.S. relationship with the Gulf nation. Saudi Arabia has itself spoken critically of and personally lobbied against the effort, maintaining it had no role in assisting the 9/11 terrorists.
But the bill passed with unanimous voice votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, meaning the veto override, set for a Senate vote Wednesday and House vote by Friday, will likely get the two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to pass.
“I look forward to the opportunity for Congress to override the President’s veto, provide these families with the chance to seek the justice they deserve, and send a clear message that we will not tolerate those who finance terrorism in the United States,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement Friday.