In a sweeping 91-3 vote against moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, the U.S. Senate may have had the last word on the hotly debated topic. The $607 billion defense policy explicitly prohibits what Obama has tried to accomplish since becoming president. The bill passed on Nov. 11, 2015, deals a massive blow to the Obama Administration, according to U.S. News.
Although Obama clearly does not agree with the provisions related to Guantanamo, as of this report, he has not threatened to veto the bill. However, the new defense policy has overwhelming bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate, which strongly indicates a veto would be defeated by the required two-thirds majority vote.
According to NBC News, the bill also prohibits any funding to build or modify a prison in the United States to house the detainees. However, most Republicans are concerned that the President may still decide to move detainees from Guantanamo. Referring to his disregard for the proper procedure when a prisoner was moved in 2014 in exchange for the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Earlier this week a report from the Pentagon revealed several potential U.S. prisons the detainees could be moved to in order to close the Cuban military prison. The prisons listed are in Colorado, South Carolina, and Kansas. White House press secretary Josh Earnest alluded to the use of executive authority to close the prison just last week. However, he has not been made aware of “Any ongoing effort to devise a strategy using the president’s executive authority.” Nevertheless, the option has not been taken off of the table.
Many contend that to bring the detainees onto U.S. soil is mind-boggling and a threat to national security. Use of executive authority gives the president the power to enforce decisions without the approval of Congress. Perhaps Obama will decide not to use that power since the bill passed by the Senate and awaiting his signature demonstrates their strong support. Most agree with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C, when he stated on Monday that, “This is absolutely nothing short of gambling national security to keep a campaign promise.”
By Jireh Gibson
NBC News: Senate Bill Passes to Ban Guantanamo Bay Detainees From U.S.
U.S. NEWS: Congress passes defense bill that would ban moving Guantanamo Detainees to U.S.
Image Courtesy of Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License