An Embarrassment of Riches

Several prominent Republicans in Congress now regret voting to override the president’s veto of a popular bill (S. 2040) to allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

“I think what we’ve seen in the U.S. Congress is a pretty classic case of rapid-onset buyer’s remorse,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

Within minutes of the vote to put the bill into law, 28 senators wrote a letter expressing deep concern about the potential impact of the bill they just passed, Earnest said.


The vote was the first successful veto override of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

“I would venture to say that this is the single-most embarrassing thing that the U.S. Senate has done possibly since 1983,” Earnest said following the vote.

Yet, there are so many embarrassing things that the Congress has done over the last couple of years, Earnest reminded reporters the next day.

“I won't go through all of them,” Earnest said. “But we've got the Tortilla Coast gambit, which is a real highlight.”

The so-called gambit was a complicated legislative maneuver intended to derail the administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, hatched by Republicans at Tortilla Coast, a Tex-Mex restaurant on Capitol Hill.

Then there’s the leading House investigator into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server passing out business cards with a private e-mail address, Earnest said.

“You’ve got the all-but-anointed House Speaker [Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)] disclosing on live national television that the Benghazi investigation is motivated to drive down Secretary Clinton’s poll ratings,” Earnest said.

Then there’s Republicans bringing the U.S. to the brink of default for the first time in history, resulting in a credit downgrade, Earnest said.

Separate from that, there is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) engineering a government shutdown that lasted for two and a half weeks that didn’t actually result in any change in government policy, Earnest said.

This year, Senate Republicans won’t even consider the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Earnest said. Nor has the Senate moved for more than a year on the nomination of Adam Szubin to head the terrorism and financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department, he said.