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White House: Obama plans to veto bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., September 11, 2016. 

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

President Obama will veto legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

“That is still the plan. The president does intend to veto this legislation,” Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing.

The House approved the measure on Friday and the Senate passed the measure in May. In the Senate, it was sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

Earnest said Monday that the White House has had “significant” concerns with the bill because it could open up the U.S. to being continually sued by people in other countries.

“The way that this bill is currently written exposes the United States, U.S. diplomats, U.S. servicemembers and, in some situations, even U.S. companies to significant risk in courts all across the world,” Earnest said. “The president believes that it’s important to look out for our country, to look out for our servicemembers, to look out for these diplomats and allowing this bill to come into law would increase the risk that it would face.”

The bill’s passage came before the 15th anniversary Sunday of the 2001 attacks that killed thousands in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Even after Obama vetoes the bill, it’s possible Congress might have the votes to override his veto.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.