Obama would veto bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia

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WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama would veto a bill passed by both houses of Congress that would allow survivors and families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for damages, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.

"It's not hard to imagine other countries using this law as an excuse to haul U.S. diplomats or U.S. service members or even U.S. companies into courts all around the world," Earnest told reporters in a daily briefing.

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15 most iconic images from September 11, 2001 and aftermath
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15 most iconic images from September 11, 2001 and aftermath
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This 11 September, 2001 file photo shows US President George W. Bush interrupted by his Chief of Staff Andrew Card(L) shortly after news of the New York City airplane crashes was available in Sarasota, Florida.

(Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, American Airlines Flight 175 closes in on World Trade Center Tower 2 in New York, just before impact.

(AP Photo/Carmen Taylor, File)

The second tower of the World Trade Center explodes into flames after being hit by a airplane, New York September 11, 2001 with the Brooklyn bridge in the foreground. Both towers of the complex collapsed after being hit by hijacked planes.

(REUTERS/Sara K. Schwittek)

In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, the north tower of New York's World Trade Center shows the impact left by a hijacked Boeing 767, American Airlines Flight 11. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington killed almost 3,000 people and lead to a war in Afghanistan.

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta/FILE)

This 11 September 2001 file photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area.

(Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

A true-color image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) aboard the Landsat 7 satellite on September 12, 2001 shows New York City and the smoldering World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 attacks in this handout photo courtesy of NASA. The image was captured at roughly 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time.


A person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The south tower of the World Trade Center, left, begins to collapse after a terrorist attack on the landmark buildings in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)

People run from the collapse of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center in this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo.

(AP Photo/FILE/Suzanne Plunkett)

The remains of the World Trade Center stands amid the debris following the terrorist attack on the building in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/Alexandre Fuchs)

Rescue workers carry fatally injured New York City Fire Depatment Chaplain, Father Mychal Judge, from one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, early September 11, 2001. Both towers were hit by planes crashing into the buildings and collapsed a short time later.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

The damaged area of the Pentagon building, where a hijacked commercial jetliner slammed into it September 11, 2001, is seen in this file photo with the U.S. Capitol Building in the background, at sunrise on September 16, 2001.

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Firefighters raise a U.S. flag at the site of the World Trade Center after two hijacked commercial airliners were flown into the buildings September 11, 2001 in New York.

(Photo by 2001 The Record (Bergen Co. NJ)/Getty Images)

A New York City fireman calls for more rescue workers to make their way into the rubble of the World Trade Center September 15, 2001.

(REUTERS/Handout/U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres)

Members of the New York Fire and Police Departments salute as a truck carrying the last steel column of the World Trade Center moves up West Street from inside of the World Trade Center site May 30, 2002 as the recovery effort at Ground Zero officially ends in New York.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


"I do anticipate the president would veto this legislation when it is presented to him," he said.

The House of Representatives passed the bill by voice vote, without objections, on Friday, after the Senate passed it unanimously in May, clearing the way for it to go to the White House for Obama to sign into law or veto.

Congressional aides said the measure appeared to have enough support, two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and House, for lawmakers to override an Obama veto for the first time since he took office in January 2009.

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However, such a vote is unlikely to take place soon. Obama is not expected to get the bill until after Congress leaves Washington. The Senate could leave as soon as this week, and the House next, and lawmakers would not be in Washington again until after the Nov. 8 elections.

Under the Constitution, Obama has 10 days to veto the bill before it automatically becomes law. The Constitution also allows a "pocket veto," in which the president can defeat a bill just by holding onto it until Congress is out of session.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy Gardner, additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)

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