Democrats are starting to show cracks in their support for legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia — suggesting White House opposition to the bill may be resonating with lawmakers preparing for the first veto override vote of Barack Obama’s presidency.
But to sustain his expected veto, Obama will need to persuade 34 senators to change course and oppose the bill — a very difficult task. The legislation sailed through both chambers with no opposition. And the White House now has scant time to make its case to Capitol Hill, with a veto override vote in the Senate expected this month.
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Still, there are glimmers of hope for the administration. Key lawmakers are now making it clear they remain undecided on overriding Obama’s presumed veto — a notable departure from the overwhelming show of support behind the legislation when it unanimously passed both chambers earlier this year.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, indicated this week that she was rethinking her support for the Saudi Arabia legislation amid renewed arguments against the measure from the Obama administration.
“I do have some second thoughts with respect to that,” Feinstein said. “I think it could bring on a whole host of unintended consequences.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said Tuesday that “this is not a bill without complex ramifications” and he wanted to see Obama’s formal veto and his rationale for opposing the legislation before making up his mind on overriding it.
“I think it would be incorrect for any member to think this is a very simple issue, that it may not have ramifications for the United States in other venues around the world,” Hoyer said. “Having said that, I will …