As JP Updates reported earlier today, the Senate voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its part in the terrorist attack. This marks the first time in his eight years in office that one of Obama’s vetoes has been overridden. If Obama’s looking for another politician to blame, he must look to a man in his own party, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, The Hill reported today.
Schumer was one of the original proponents of JASTA, having teamed up with Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn to get the bill out of committee, where it had been stuck for years, and onto the Senate floor, where it was passed without opposition in May.
Many of the 9/11 victims are Schumer’s constituents, so it makes sense that he made this particular bill his passion.
“This issue reflects a facet of Chuck which is no matter how high or hard he goes, he’s still a senator from New York. This issue affects New York families. He listens to them. He goes home every weekend,” said Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Once it became clear that Obama intended to veto JASTA, Schumer went to work to ensure that there’d be enough support to override the veto. He ultimately persuaded 97 Senators to vote with him.
Schumer’s direction on JASTA is seen as apprenticeship for taking over Democratic leadership in the Senate once Harry Reid steps down next year. The fact that Schumer managed to get bipartisan support may indicate that he’ll be better than Reid at reaching across the aisle.
“He’s a consensus builder. He’s a coalition guy. He’s really done masterfully on this bill, and I think the unanimous vote in the Senate reflects that,” said Senator Blumenthal.
If chosen, Schumer would be the first Jewish Senate majority leader in history.
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