Veto over­ride shows Congress at its worst

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

Sel­dom has feck­less con­gres­sional lead­er­ship been more ap­par­ent than in the over­ride of Pres­i­dent Obama’s veto of the 9/11 law­suit bill — and the im­me­di­ate ad­mis­sion af­ter­ward that, um, wait, maybe the law ac­tu­ally is a bad idea. In their de­ter­mi­na­tion to let fam­i­lies of 9/11 vic­tims sue Saudi Ara­bia, con­gres­sional lead­ers now claim they didn’t re­al­ize it could ex­pose the U.S. and its ci­ti­zens to law­suits in for­eign courts af­ter mil­i­tary or in­tel­li­gence ac­tions. But how could they not know?

We’ll say this for the fi­asco: It was bi­par­ti­san. For this first-ever over­ride of an Obama veto, the Se­nate vote was 97-1 (Nevada Sen. Harry Reid was the only nay) and the House vote 348-77. From the Bay Area, only Reps. Jackie Speier, Mark DeSaulnier and Bar­bara Lee were op­posed. Good for them.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thurs­day that “there may be some work to be done.” Well, duh. At­tor­neys for in­no­cent vic­tims of U.S. drone strikes abroad must be sali­vat­ing over their new ac­cess to deep Amer­i­can pock­ets, cour­tesy of Congress.

The White House called the veto over­ride the “sin­gle most em­bar­rass­ing thing that the United States Se­nate has done in decades.” We see no ev­i­dence to the con­trary.

Congress needs to fix this pronto when mem­bers re­turn from the election re­cess Nov. 15. They have to clean up their own mess be­fore the new Congress is seated in Jan­uary. As to how they’ll do this, and what they’ll say to the 9/11 vic­tims to whom they have un­con­scionably pan­dered — that’s their prob­lem.

In­cred­i­bly, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell tried to blame this on Pres­i­dent Obama. “I think it was just a ball dropped,” McCon­nell said. “I wish the pres­i­dent — I hate to blame ev­ery­thing on him, and I don’t — but it would have been help­ful had he, uh, we had a dis­cus­sion about this much ear­lier than last week.”

Oh, please. When Obama tried to ex­plain back in April why the bill should be killed, Repub­li­cans slammed him. McCon­nell has had 15 years since 9/11 to think this through. He should be ashamed.

We sym­pa­thize with fam­i­lies of vic­tims of the cow­ardly 2001 at­tacks. But the com­mis­sion in­ves­ti­gat­ing the plot found “no ev­i­dence that the Saudi gov­ern­ment as an in­sti­tu­tion or se­nior Saudi of­fi­cials in­di­vid­u­ally funded” the ter­ror­ists.

It’s still pos­si­ble that the Saudis were in­volved, but try­ing to prove it in court would take years and hu­mon­gous le­gal costs, with lit­tle like­li­hood of suc­cess: What ev­i­dence will vic­tims mar­shal that the com­mis­sion couldn’t?

Congress needs to stop grand­stand­ing on 9/11 and fo­cus on pre­vent­ing more at­tacks on U.S. soil. Just a hint here: En­cour­ag­ing fu­tile law­suits prob­a­bly isn’t the way to do it. — San Jose Mer­cury News,

Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Congress needs to stop grand­stand­ing on 9/11 and fo­cus on pre­vent­ing more at­tacks on U.S. soil. Just a hint here: En­cour­ag­ing fu­tile law­suits prob­a­bly isn’t the way to do it.

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