US Congress, first the Senate and then the House, voted on Wednesday to override Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House rejected a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue Saudi Arabia. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold with a 348-77 vote to push back against the veto. The Senate voted 97-1 in favor of the override earlier in the day, with only Democratic Leader Harry Reid voting to sustain the president’s veto.
“We can no longer allow those who injure and kill Americans to hide behind legal loopholes denying justice to the victims of terror,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
The White House immediately slammed lawmakers following the Senate vote.
“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One, an apparent reference to a 95-0 vote to override President Ronald Reagan that year.
The override was widely expected in both chambers, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle characterizing it as an act of justice for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.