Politics

Senate Passes Bill To Ban Guantanamo Closing

| by Sean Kelly
guantanamo bay detention campguantanamo bay detention camp

The U.S. Senate approved a spending bill that contained provisions to block President Barack Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay.

The bill, which had passed in the House 370-58 in the first week of November, was passed by a veto-proof 91-3 margin in the Senate on Nov. 10 — a month after Obama vetoed it, The Intercept reported. Obama's veto on the spending bill noted both funding disagreements and the bill's language, which would ban the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. and prevent moves to specific countries.

“This legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world,” Obama said in a veto-signing ceremony on Oct. 23, according to The Intercept.

“Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit," Obama added. "It’s time for us to close it. It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.”

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Since the veto, Congress conceded on Obama's funding concerns, but they kept the provisions regarding Guantanamo. 

The bill will now head to Obama's desk once again, and it's unclear what he will do, considering he is faced with veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate.

On Nov. 9, however, White House press secretary Josh Earnest hinted at the possibility of Obama using his executive authority to close Guantanamo Bay, the Associated Press reports.

"I'm not aware of any ongoing effort to devise a strategy using only the president's executive authority to accomplish this goal," Earnest said, according to AP. "But I certainly wouldn't, as I mentioned last week, take that option off the table."

Sources: The Intercept, AP via NBC News / Photo credit: Wikipedia, The U.S. Army/Flickr