Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed Tuesday that the Senate is planning on staying past an excepted break in order to override President Barack Obama’s planned veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.
The bill has strong bipartisan support and aims to find victory for the families of those who were murdered on 9/11 by allowing them to sue the Saudi government within the U.S. legal system.
The Senate was expected to recess before Friday, but McConnell confirmed they would probably be in session through next week.
“Both of those we’ll have to deal with before we depart,” McConnell told reporters, referring to the veto override and a push to block a separate resolution that will prevent the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
“At whatever point the President vetoes it, we’ll have to take it up and there will be a roll call vote on the override,” he added. “Our assumption is that the veto will be overridden.”
The Obama administration strongly opposes the bill, arguing it could make U.S. citizens abroad vulnerable to retaliatory attack.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, expressed his frustration with Obama’s failure to act one way or another.
“Why are you waiting, Mr. President? Veto the bill if that’s what you’ve decided to do,” Cornyn said. “We hope you wouldn’t, but if you’re going to veto it, veto it and send it back to us so we can have the vote to override that veto, which I’m confident we will.”
If the Senate manages to successfully override the veto, they must then pass it through the House in order for the bill to successfully pass. With just seven weeks until election, lawmakers are anxious to get back on the campaign trail.
“It’s going to pass. One way or another. The President will veto and we’ll override it by a large margin,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told the Daily News Tuesday afternoon.
Lawmakers on Tuesday also introduced a resolution that would block a 1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. A vote on the bill is expected for Wednesday.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen is bombing innocent civilians in Yemen,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said in a written statement.
“My legislation begins the process in the House of Representatives to block the proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia,” Lieu added. “The United States of America should not be aiding and abetting these atrocities and should immediately halt any activity to sell additional arms to the Saudis.”
McConnell disagrees with the resolution, saying, “the Saudis have in many, many ways been good allies over the years.”
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