House Dems Refuse Funds to Close Gitmo
House Democrats on Monday refused a request by the Obama administration for $50 million to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay and relocate inmates amid speculation that some of its prisoners may be eventually housed in the United States.
“When lawmakers unveiled a bill to pay for military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan through the fall, the money to implement President Barack Obama’s executive order to shut down the prison within a year was missing from it,” reported the Associated Press. “However, money could be transferred later — without a politically challenging vote — if it were needed to move the detainees.”
Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee will seek for the next few weeks to pass $94.2 billion in emergency funds, topping President Obama’s request by some $11 billion. >>>
Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have expressed strong opposition to the administration’s reported plan to allow some of the 17 Chinese Uighurs to resettle in the U.S. as part of Obama’s pledge to shut down the controversial prison within a year.
Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has confirmed the plan for the first time, though he added that a final decision had not been made. He said he understood that almost any administration move on Guantanamo was likely to be controversial. Seven has been the reported as the number of Uighurs the administration wants to release into the U.S.
Gates told a Senate appropriations subcommittee last week, “I fully expect to have 535 pieces of legislation before this is over saying, ‘Not in my district, not in my state,’ ” He was referring to the number of senators and members of the House.
But Gates said the Uighurs would face persecution if they were returned to China. He added, “It’s difficult for the State Department to make the argument to other countries they should take these people that we have deemed in this case not to be dangerous if we won’t take any of them ourselves.”
There are currently 17 Uighurs who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo since they were arrested in Pakistan in 2002. While these Muslim men have been declared to pose no threat to U.S. security and have been cleared for release, they remain at the notorious prison because no other countries have offered them asylum. >>>