Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks.

It is the first override of Obama’s presidency.

The votes in the House and Senate amounted to a sweeping, bipartisan rejection of pleas from the White House to back the president, with administration officials arguing the legislation poses a national security threat by exposing U.S. officials to similar lawsuits abroad.

“Overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly, but it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice, even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), said in a statement.

Some members of Congress in recent days expressed misgivings about the bill and signaled a willingness consider changes, but that angst did little to alter the vote tallies in either chamber.
Traveling aboard Air Force One Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the vote “the single most embarrassing thing the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983,” when Congress overwhelmingly voted to override President Reagan’s veto of an Oregon land transfer bill.