Veto override shows Congress at its worst
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.