Congress

The House Votes, Once Again, to Block the Closure of Gitmo

For perhaps the final time of the Obama presidency, Congress has voted to prohibit him from closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of fiscal 2017 will be the last NDAA signed by President Obama and, among other terrible things, it will block the transfer of detainees to mainland prisons.

Republicans shot down an amendment by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to strike parts of the bill that renew a longstanding ban on moving Guantanamo detainees to the United States. The embargo has kept Obama from fulfilling a campaign pledge to shutter the facility. The White House said the restrictions interfere with the executive branch's authority to decide when and where to prosecute prisoners.

As you probably know, President Obama signed an executive order on his first day in office to close the prison, but Congress has voted every single year since then to keep the prison open.

In the early years of the Obama administration, opposition to closing the prison was bipartisan. Congressional Democrats voted with Republicans to prohibit the president from closing the prison on multiple occasions. In more recent years, however, opposition has been almost exclusively Republican.

There is good reason to believe this version of the NDAA will be vetoed by the president because it also includes the Republican amendment to reverse the president's executive order barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.

I expect the GOP's anti-LGBT amendment will eventually be stripped from the bill, but I don't expect the measure to block the closure of Gitmo will be.

It seems reasonable to assume the next president will also face opposition to closing the prison. If that is not the case, it will be more clear than ever that opposition had nothing to do with security concerns and everything to do with simply opposing President Obama.

  • Lancelot Link

    The congressmen blocking the closure of Guantanamo weren’t just Republicans or Democrats; there was also an Independent Socialist.

  • swift_4

    I haven’t seen anyone talk about it, so I assume the answer is “ridiculously bad”. But how bad would it be if he just kept vetoing these things? Is it along the lines of the military doesn’t get paid and falls apart?

  • muselet

    The Rs just love the idea of the US running a prison camp, don’t they?

    –alopecia

    • JMAshby

      After I shared this post on Twitter last night I had a bigshot right wing attorney tell me how important and “strategic” the prison is.

      I asked ‘by what measure?’ and got no response.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    And I still have to listen to my extreme leftwing friends complain about President Obama breaking a campaign promise by not shuttering Gitmo.

    • Rules, schmules…who needs em. Same kind of mentality with Bernie. They think he can pull free college for everyone out of his ass without any consideration for the Congressional opposition he would face. Can you imagine how they would turn on him if he failed to deliver on any one of his pie in the sky promises?

    • Draxiar

      I was thinking the same thing but you summed it up perfectly!

    • Christopher Foxx

      Just keep calmly asking those friends what Obama was supposed to do, and then keep pointing out that he’s done exactly that. It takes time but the truth eventually seeps in and they will start directing the blame where it should be.