Feel like politics is too partisan these days? You may want to sit down for this: Congress actually agreed on something this week. What is all this about, you ask? A law that allows 9-11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia – and one which President Obama had already vetoed, saying it opens a massive can of worms for foreign countries who feel like suing the US for “terrorist” activities conducted in say, foreign wars (think: Japan, Vietnam or Iraq), and hello, political decision much? But supporters are saying revenge is a dish best served before another 15 years goes by and 9-11 families shouldn’t just be abandoned (read: especially not in an election year). Spoiler alert: the White House thinks it’s the dumbest decision in years. And that’s saying something.
So why is this such a big deal, you ask? Well for one thing, this is the first time that Congress has dealt Obama a massive slap to the face and overrode a veto during his presidency. For another, it’s an election year, so everything is a big deal. And finally, Saudi Arabia is not taking the new law very well, which is actually a big deal because the US needs their help with a little problem called ISIS. Which makes you wonder why Congress didn’t stop to think about the fairly obvious consequences.
But don’t assume this new bipartisanship spirit will last. Bizarrely, less than 24 hours after overriding Obama’s veto, Congress is now suffering from buyer’s remorse, explicitly blaming Obama for dropping the ball by failing to communicate the flaws in the bill, and admitting that the law will need to be amended to protect Americans from retaliatory action – leaving everyone else scratching their heads and saying wait, what? But don’t expect this to be resolved any time soon as Congress is going on a little pre-election vacation for some well-earned R&R. Because, democracy.
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