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The House and Senate voted Wednesday to reject President Obama‘s veto of legislation allowing lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism — the first successful override of a presidential veto since Obama took office.

The president had vetoed the legislation Friday because he said the bill — known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA — would infringe on the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. It was the 12th veto of his presidency.

But after an intense push by 9/11 survivors and families of victims who want to sue Saudi Arabia based on claims the country played a role in the 2001 terror attacks, even Obama’s Democratic allies on Capitol Hill voted to override his veto.

The House voted 348-77, well above the two-thirds majority needed. The final vote tally in the Senate was 97-1. Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., cast the lone dissenting vote.

“In our polarized politics of today, this is pretty much close to a miraculous occurrence,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. Democrats and Republicans in both chambers agreed, he said, that the bill “gives the victims of the terrorist attack on our own soil an opportunity to seek the justice they deserve.”

 

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