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Will Obama Actually Veto JASTA?

Sept. 13, 2016 (EIRNS)—Some Democrats in Congress are skeptical that President Obama will go ahead with his threatened veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) bill, now that the bill has been formally put on his desk, with a ten-day deadline for him to decide. Leaders of the fight for the JASTA bill expressed confidence on Tuesday that the votes exist in both houses for a clear 2/3 majority to over-ride any Obama veto. Obama has until Sept. 23 to act.

The mere threat of an Obama veto of JASTA has created turmoil among Democrats, who see it as a stab in the back from a President who has never cared about the Democratic Party since taking office. Republicans will jump all over an Obama veto and rightfully treat it as a betrayal of the American people, especially the survivors and family members of 9/11, in favor of the ever more-hated Saudis. Nancy Youssef wrote in Politico that “Obama’s 9/11 Veto Threat Jams Up Hillary Clinton.” Hillary Clinton has avoided any strong statement pro or con on JASTA, even though campaign spokesmen have said she is in favor of the bill. A showdown between Obama and the Congress on the issue will make it impossible for Clinton to avoid taking a clear stand. According to Al-Monitor, some lawmakers could move aggressively to block the pending $1.2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia if Obama goes ahead with the veto. The release of the 28-page chapter from the original Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 has “rekindled distrust of the Saudis,” Al-Monitor noted, and the day before the JASTA vote, four members of the Senate—Rand Paul, Chris Murphy, Al Franken, and Mike Lee—introduced a bill to block the sale, and 64 House members signed a letter drafted by Rep. Ted Lieu to President Obama, urging him to stop the arms sale.

If Obama does go ahead with the veto and sends the message back to Congress this week, it is anticipated that a vote to override the veto will take place before Congress recesses later this month. If Obama waits, it will occur in the lame-duck session following the November elections. But under any circumstances, this issue will be fought out and resolved this year.

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